The Pickens Plan is a proposal by T. Boone Pickens. Pickens' plan is to reduce American dependency on imported oil by using wind turbine farms for power generation, which would then allow the natural gas currently used for power generation to be use to fuel trucks and other heavy vehicles. Pickens' claims this would reduce by 43% the amount the US spends on foreign oil.
The main points of his plan are:
1. Private industry would install thousands of wind turbines in the Great Plains. Estimates are that these wind turbines could generate enough electricity to provide 20 percent or more of the country's power needs.
2. Although private investors would pay for the wind turbines, all electrical users would pay for the infrastructure needed to distribute the electricity to the Midwest, South and Western US.
3. Since wind power would be providing a large share of the electrical needs, natural gas that currently is being used to generate power would be freed up to use as fuel for vehicles. This would reduce the demand for imported oil.
Pickens beliefs that his plan can be executed in less than ten years time. I guess we will just have to wait and see if that is possible.
Shifting electrical production from natural gas to wind power should greatly reduce carbon dioxide output. In addition the switch of large vehicles from gasoline to natural gas will reduce carbon dioxide output as well as other smog gases.
Will industry be willing to invest in wind turbines without government subsidies? Will the natural gas really be freed up to use in vehicles or will it be used to reduce the amount of coal that is used to generate electricity? What happens when the wind doesn't blow? That maybe the easiest one to answer. Some of the electrical power generated could be used to pump water back up stream of hydroelectric dams to store energy for periods when the wind isn't blowing. Also all of the wind power fields could be tied together so if there isn't wind in one area another could take over.
What about hybrids and electric vehicles?
Neither of these are important in the Pickens Plan. Some would say that this is a shortfall of the plan. They argue that the electricity produced from the wind turbines should be used to power electric vehicles and that is how both imported oil and greenhouse gases can be reduced.