Friday, July 18, 2008

T Boone Pickens

Below is a great video by T Boone Pickens on our transportation and electricity energy issues. He plainly walks through some very important stats. I found it particularly compelling (0 mins and 53 seconds) when he called out the $10 trillion of wealth that will flow out of this country over the next 10 years if we continue to purchase foreign oil. We need to find ways to invest those dollars domestically if we want to get our trade deficit under control and keep jobs from moving overseas.

The only "Boone" I have to pick with his presentation is the point he makes at the end about wind replacing natural gas in our electrcity infrastrucutre. Wind cannot be used to replace natural gas turbines. Natural gas generators are so called "peaker plants" meaning the are high cost relative to coal/hydro/nuclear and are only used during periods of peak demand. Wind electricity is similar to natural gas electricity in cost, but it CANNOT be spun up during periods of peak demand. Wind blows when it wants to blow. We cannot ask the wind to start blowing on a summer afternoon when the temperature peaks or when a power line goes out and the grid needs to be balanced.

Yes, more wind. Yes, more natural gas for transportation. And thanks to T Boone Pickens for making this a compelling marketing message, but these are complex problems and we will all have to work together and strike compromises to make it happen. I hope we can do it!

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