First, what is Pickens' Plot, in Pickens' Plan? First, Pickens is sitting on a lot of natural gas, that he might lust to sell at a higher price before it is all gone.  Even as a temporary measure, it is still a high carbon footprint fuel.  At least Pickens understands that Drill Baby Drill, is a foolish response and will not solve the Peak Oil challenge, nor the global warming challenge.  A mass shift to Compressed Natural Gas [CNG] cars and or trucks, would greatly increase his wealth. Without Pickens, you can still consider options like a Honda Civic GX Natural Gas Vehicle, with a home garage natural gas compressor to “gas” it up, just like our Frederick Maryland city vehicles.  The current problem is that Honda is not producing enough to supply the demand.  CNG cars are neat for small city driving, but have half the range because of the lower energy available in a gallon of Liguid Natural Gas [LNG].  They have about half the range.  And, big trucks would also have less than half the range of diesel or biodiesel.  They would need heaver gas tanks to contain the LNG and they would need to be about three times the size.  Then, the only sensible way to use LNG for trucks is to buy them new and that is a slow way.  There is already a way to solve the challenge.  Just transition to biodiesel using Jatropha plants.  

Pickens' Plan, for our USA, that would mean jumping from the frying pan, of oil, to the fire, of natural gas. We are already bringing in liquid gas tankers, to supplement our natural gas, and plan more tankers. Some tankers shift from coming here, to go to other countries that bid higher prices. You may have noticed an increase in your natural gas bills, and they will end up even higher, in the long run as demand increases and supply is depleted. To make Pickens' plan feasible, we would need a vast sustainable source of natural gas to replace Pickens' and others' gas, as it it depleted, without using coal, and I do not know what that is, yet. Pickens' plan to reduce the use of natural gas for electrical plants does not work well, because gas fired generators are mainly used for peak loads, and windmills do not do peak loads. New windmills reduce, but do not take away the need for coal, gas, nuclear, and other power plants for peak power.

Second, Pickens is already investing in windmills, and already making money, and might indeed lust to have our government increase his profits. We could pay for the new transmission lines by carbon fees to improve out total electric grid.  We are less likely to get fair results from carbon burning rights auctions that both parties approved by their canidates.  Our energy production priorities, should be ranked by which are practical and then are the most cost and energy effective here and now. Our future energy systems should be ranked first by feasibility, and then cost, and energy effectivity.  Ideas like hydrogen cars would have never made the cut.  See:  http://tinyurl.com/hydrogenhoax .

We personally would love to have more windmills, even on the hills to the west of Frederick, and also in Kennedy's back yard. According to Robert Kennedy Jr. it is the fishermen livelyhood they are concerned with, not the view.  It would make more sense to first distribute windmills closer to where the power is used, and transmission lines are, than in Pickens' plan. His windmill plan, could still be done later as its cost and energy effectivity is needed, since we will ultimately need more windmill electrical power. Pickens' windmills do not reduce much of our dependence on OIL, It is darn hard to substitute electricity for OIL efficiently. Plug in cars are one way, but we do not yet know how many batteries we can gear up to produce, and recycle cost effectively, yet.  Plug in trucks are even more far in the future.

Third, Pickens' Plot does not address oil directly. Instead, we could plant vast quantities of Jatropha that can be growm in desolate areas lile with windmills, power lines, deserts. We could easily produce biodiesel from them, far before we could, by drilling for oil offshore or in Alaska. As we begin to supply all our diesel needs with biodiesel, we will be well on our way to transforming to a sustainable future. At first, our government would have to agree to buy all our plant oil production at $100 per barrel, until our national security needs are met.  Lower biodiesel prices will help drive our economy's recovery. Our gas supply will be expanded and lower priced, because the part of oil now going to diesel will be cracked, to make more gasoline. That could be also helped by practical here and now alternatives like sugar cane ethanol ,until we could perhaps make cost effective butanol using a virus or other alternatives.  I wrote to Pickens website about using biodiesel to help, but I am not holding my breath.

As Salon.Com has pointed out, Pickens has not put his political money, where his mouth is.  He has consistently supported anti progressives on energy even in the latest election.  See:  http://www.salon.com/env/feature/2008/08/28/t_boone_pickens/print.html

On a personal note, we have already bought 100% biodiesel for our 2006 VW Jetta TDI, locally at the Shell station that our FNP wrote about, for a lower price than other local Shell stations sell diesel.  This was while gas was at about $3.50.  This is in spite of our dropping dollar at that time, that is helping Europe run our local prices up, by buying biodiesel to meet their mandatory percentages, and in spite of the land soybeans has lost to subsidized corn. So, planting Jatropha in our marginal land to produce biodiesel and not interfere with food production here should be a no brainer. However, Pickens' oil, gas and windmill money, can buy a lot of influence, until our mass media and web bloggers, start telling all the factual stories, much more often, than he can. What part are you interested in playing in our generations' biggest challenge?

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