Friday, July 11, 2008

T. Boone Tells It Like It Is

From a T. Boone Pickens interview with Fast Complany.com's David Case.

Pickens: "I'm not going to have the windmills on my ranch. They're ugly. . . ."

Question: "So whose land is it going on?"

Pickens: "My neighbors', . . ."

Question: "What happens if Congress doesn't extend the $20-per-megawatt-hour Production Tax Credit for wind -- set to expire December 31? On a project this size, that's an $80,000 deduction every hour at full capacity."

Pickens: "Then you've got a dead duck. It would be hard to go without a subsidy."

Question: "What about when the wind doesn't blow?"

Pickens:"That's the problem with wind generation. You've got to supplement it with a gas-fired or coal-fired source so whoever buys it gets continuous 24-7 generation."

Comment: Do you get the picture?

2 comments:

Warren Heath said...

More Quotes from T. Boone Pickens Interview @ fastcompany.com
‘’…He listed Clean Energy Fuels, a company that markets natural gas for vehicles, on Nasdaq last year. Convinced of an imminent water shortage, he has amassed rights to billions of gallons per year of the Texas panhandle's aquifer and hopes to build a 300-mile pipeline to Dallas. But perhaps most audacious: He's building the world's biggest wind farm, a sprawling $10 billion project. …’’

So Pickens big plan gets him cash from his NG for fuels enterprise. Not what I would call benevolent.


‘‘…Listening to all of your environmental ideas, it sounds like you're the Al Gore of Texas Republicans. …’’
‘’…Don't connect me to Al Gore! A lot of what he says just doesn't make sense. Texans know I'm environmentally directed in some ways. But I'm realistic about what's going on. Industry people are comfortable with me. Gore talks about getting rid of the combustion engine. I don't talk about that. …’’

So Pickens don’t sound like an EV or HEV proponent to me, which of course, is vastly more effective than NG fueled vehicles, and about the best use there is of Wind Energy. As a matter of fact, with V2G technology it is possible to use electric vehicle charging as a cheap way to absorb, the short duration the Wind Energy fluctuations, without destabilizing the Power Grid.


‘‘…You recently announced plans to build the world's largest wind farm, in the panhandle. Is that about money or the environment? …’’
‘’…Money! First thing, it's about money. Of course, I'm also a good environmentalist. I can pass the saliva test. But I'm not going to go do a 4,000-megawatt wind farm for the environment first and money second. I'd rather go give money someplace else. You're talking about $10 billion. . …’’

Again no Bill Gates style Philanthropy here, like the National News Agencies tried to delude us into believing.


‘‘…Tell me about the project. …’’
‘’…It's huge, the size of two nuclear plants in output, enough to power a million homes. More than 2,000 turbines, each between 2 and 3 megawatts. The first 1,000 megawatts will be ready by 2011, and 1,000 each year or two after that. . …’’

More like 1.5 average nuclear power plants. About the same installation time as new generation nuclear power plants, longer than the Assembly Line, Factory Produced, Small & Medium Sized Power Plants.


‘‘…And you'll do all this on your beautiful 68,000-acre ranch? …’’
‘’…I'm not going to have the windmills on my ranch. They're ugly. The hub of each turbine is up 280 feet, and then you have a 120-foot radius on the blade. It's the size of a 40-story building. . …’’
So he’s admitting the fact that they are a blight on the landscape, causing environmental damage.


‘‘…So whose land is it going on? …’’
‘’…My neighbors', mainly south of my ranch. They'll get royalties of 4% to 7% on the energy produced, an average per turbine of $10,000 to $20,000 per year. They still can run cattle or farm on the land with the turbines there too. We'll put in only five per square mile. And unlike oil, this is not a declining situation. Let's say a guy has a 3 megawatt turbine, and it does $20,000 per year. …’’

That’s fine for the people who make money from the turbines, what about the majority of people in the region and visitors, who just get the eyesore, no cash. 5 per sq. mile x 2,000 = 100,000 sq miles PLUS the parallel Coal or NG power plants vs 1/3 sq mile for the nuclear power plants. Also land royalties will be about the same as fuel cost for standard LWR Nuclear Reactors.


‘‘…What about when the wind doesn't blow? …’’
‘’… [Pickens purses his lips and starts puffing.] That's the problem with wind generation. You've got to supplement it with a gas-fired or coal-fired source so whoever buys it gets continuous 24-7 generation. …’’

So once again, the Fossil Fuel Gang of Four get to profit from so-called Renewables Energy. The Backup Generators need to be kept running in order to be able to absorb the unpredictable power fluctuations (called spinning). This is the most inefficient way to run fossil fuel generators. Means more GHG emissions and much higher effective capital costs for the Turbines. Sorry, T.Bone you need your NG to supply Supplemental Power Generation for your Wind Turbines – forget about using it for vehicles.


‘‘…So you're going to build that? …’’
‘’…Either we will or someone else, like TXU. …’’

If you place your supplemental generators near the Wind Turbines, then your long, expensive transmission lines will at least be running at capacity, rather than only 30% of capacity (which is substantial wasted investment), but then you have power plants located in scenic rural areas along with your ‘’ UGLY ‘’ Wind Turbines. Add to that Coal Trains move huge amounts of dirty coal or the great difficulties & expensive of NG pipelines as well.


‘‘…What happens if Congress doesn't extend the $20-per-megawatt-hour Production Tax Credit for wind -- set to expire December 31? On a project this size, that's an $80,000 deduction every hour at full capacity. …’’
‘’…Then you've got a dead duck. It would be hard to go without a subsidy. But they'll probably pass it. . …’’

Now we know the REAL ATTRACTION of installing the wind turbines. An EXTRAORDINARY, HUGE SUBSIDY OF 20 cents per kwh. With nuclear power costing 3-5 cents a kwh, who needs the wind turbines.


‘‘…Transmission is a major challenge for most wind projects -- getting the electricity to where the people are. …’’
‘’…That's right. The hardest part is having rights-of-way and buyers someplace. …’’

Here we have an additional problem, besides the high cost of the 330% oversized transmission lines, getting right-of-way for the UGLY and environmentally unfriendly high voltage lines. I imagine private landowners want substantial royalties for that as well. And where there is livestock, high voltage power lines cause problems, farmers or ranchers have to be extremely wary of low level ground circulation currents.



In the next four quotes we find out how T.Bone managed to wrangle those transmission lines right-of-ways.

‘‘…You've been planning a $3 billion water pipeline from the Texas panhandle to Dallas. Would the wind and water be transported along the same corridor? …’’
‘’…Yes, if it goes to Dallas. We bought $45 million worth of water rights in Roberts County. We'll transport 200,000 acre-feet of water a year. And we set up a water district that gives us the power of eminent domain for the transmission corridor. We can issue tax-free bonds. It has all the favorable characteristics of a city government. …’’
‘‘…You put $1.2 million into the last Texas elections, didn't you? …’’
‘’…I don't know. I don't keep track. …’’
‘‘…The advocacy group Texans for Public Justice alleged that you used that money to get a bill passed that allowed you to create and control the water district without local voters' approval. …’’
‘’…That's not true. I never asked any elected official for that. It's bullshit. …’’
‘‘…Did that law help you with your wind and water projects? …’’
‘’…The bill lets us use the right-of-way from the water district for both water and wind. But I didn't even know anything about the bill until it was over with. …’’


‘‘…How important is wind to America's future energy needs? …’’
‘’…The United States today runs on 987,000 megawatts, and the demand is going to increase 150,000 megawatts in the next 10 years -- 15%. We could supply most of that with wind from the Great Plains, from Texas to North Dakota, but we've got to set up corridors to the West Coast and to the East Coast. …’’

Yeah, right. Along with equivalent amounts of GHG emitting power plants, running on scarce NG or filthy coal, to supplement the power, and vast stretches of triple oversized, ugly, high voltage transmission lines, extremely vulnerable to terrorism or just simple vandalism.



‘‘…Is ethanol part of the solution? …’’
‘’…Ethanol is political. That's what Bob Dole told me in 1989. He called me up and said, "Quit talking down ethanol. You need to understand something: There are 21 farm states, and that's 42 senators. Those senators want ethanol." He said, "Are you getting the picture?" And I said, "Yeah, it's coming through pretty clear." [Dole confirms that Pickens's account is "probably accurate." …’’

Finally, T.Bone tells us something we can all identify with, namely Agro-Ethanol is ONE GIANT POLITICAL SCAM – take note, Barack Obama.


‘‘…Not exactly an inspiring vision of Congress. …’’
‘’…The leadership is absolutely, totally pissy in Congress -- a real conglomeration of fruitcakes. I mean pitiful people. …’’

Straight up! These are the guys who are deciding National Energy Policy



A much better idea than T.Bones self-serving plan, is to actually spend some of that huge Wind Subsidy on R&D on George Olah’s Reverse Methanol Fuel Cell and similar technology (current funding = Zero), to make small, efficient, automated Micro-Plants, that convert local wind power, including all peak energy, into safe, clean, environmentally friendly, GHG Neutral Methanol Vehicle Fuel, by combining electricity with water and biomass, flue gas or atmospheric CO2. Could even use with Grid Connected turbines so that when Wind Energy is needed by the Grid, and is available, the Wind Power will go to the Grid 1st priority, otherwise it will go to Methanol Production. Way smarter than using NG powered vehicles.

Soylent said...

Warren you accidentally stuck another zero on the wind subsidy; it's 2 cents per kWh.

But 2 cents per kWh is already more than I suspect most would be willing to pay for such intermittent electricity considering the cost of 'cleaning it up' and the hassle of dealing with several days out of the year with zero(sometimes less than zero) wind generation.

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