T. Boone Pickens , the down to earth billionaire, revealed probably the most sound, logical and comprehensive US energy independence plan to date. Conspicuously absent from his discussion was the typical environmental disaster scenarios spewed forth by the environmentalists. No charts showing that a statistically insignificant 1 degree average temperature change can be extrapolated to an 8 degree temperature rise that results in the extinction of man as we sink into the ocean.
Instead he explained a logical and thought out approach using a white board and marker on CNBC. Using history tested economic logic Pickens started by explaining that the US spends $700 billion (US) on foreign oil annually. America buys 25% of the world’s daily production even though we are only 4% of the world’s population.
Yes, Pickens has a stake in the game. He’s placing a huge investment in wind but he’s already a billionaire because he has an instinctive ability to foresee a problem before it occurs and be in a position to benefit from solving it. That’s what entrepreneurs do in a free society where good ideas are economically rewarded.
Everyone knows China is growing and so is their demand for oil. In the US we consume about 25 barrels of oil per person per year. Likewise in developed countries in Europe they consume about 13 barrels per person. In China they only consume 2 barrels per person. China knows that demand will grow as their middle class expands and increasing incomes lead to auto purchases making them a more mobile and efficient society. Pickens knows it also. He’s been in the oil industry for 60 years and he can foresee that the world can’t have that many countries consuming the same natural resource at the US levels.
So he did something they don’t do in Washington D.C. or San Francisco…. think. He thought about a solution to the problem without the usual rhetorical finger pointing between the left and right. His plan is simple. Solve the infrastructure energy needs first. Then shift the existing resources to meet the vehicle energy needs while developing new ones. Highlights of his plan:
Infrastructure Energy Solutions:
1.) Use the middle of the country states in the US from Texas to North Dakota to become the Saudi Arabia of WIND ENERGY for the entire country. If Sweden can do it then we can.
2.) Expand SOLAR ENERGY in the SouthWest states like Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico.
3.) Increase energy production from CLEAN COAL- an energy source the US has more reserves of than any other country.
4.) Start the applications to build NUCLEAR power plants now because it will take about 15 years to get one built. If France can do it then we certainly can. The left will have to dust off their picket signs from the 80’s just for entertainment.
Vehicle Energy Solutions:
1.) Even though its taboo to say it, I’ll say what’s on 80% of the country’s mind – “Just shut up an drill!”. Yes, Pickens said give it all to me as long as it doesn’t come from a foreign source. Drill for OIL in the Gulf, drill in Alaska and start getting at the oil shale. We already know how to do it, just get it done.
2.) After you have gotten the wind, solar and clean coal moving the in right direction start shifting NATURAL GAS to run automobiles. Pickens noted that several countries already produce cars that run on Natural gas but the US has none. He estimates that using Natural Gas for cars instead of home heating can save us $300 Billion annually in foreign oil purchases.
3.) Continue to Develop BIOFUELS. He didn’t specifically note which types but I would suggest switch grass or sugar cane which have very high energy density yields per acre. Plus, I generally do not eat as much switch grass as I do corn.
So there you have it. A comprehensive plan that involves more than drilling but also doesn’t HOPE for a green only plan driven by slogans and high taxes. Imagine an America where our president doesn’t need to beg to Saudi Arabia to increase oil production. Imagine an America where small rural towns become economically vibrant from a “green rush” brought on by re-awakening of our innovative society. It can happen but you have to be willing to demand it from your politicians. Don’t ask, demand it. Not some of the plan but the entire plan. Something we can all agree on in this election year.