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Author Topic: Pickens Scales Back Ambitious Wind Farm  (Read 1220 times)
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JohnBrowdie
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« on: July 08, 2009, 11:19:36 am »

"T. Boom and his Fabulous Fanny Farm" was played up with great fanfare during the election because it was an
oil man abandoning (that is how it was portrayed) oil.  (I suppose elderly oil guys can be senile sometimes just
like the rest of the world)

it's interesting (although not surprising to many of us) that the "stimulus" is stalling spending in whole industries.
companies are holding off until they see what the feds are going to do.  it's also happening in telecommunications, where
there are several billion bucks out there for "broadband stimulus". 

the next "surprise" to the "stimulists" will be that the private sector abandons whole sectors of various industries because
huge federal outlays simply make it impossible to take a viable product to market, and hope to ever make a profit.

Quote
Pickens Scales Back Ambitious Wind Farm

In a sign of the difficulties facing the development of wind energy, the legendary Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens is suspending plans to build the world’s largest wind farm.

Over the near term, Mr. Pickens instead plans to build three or four smaller wind farms, at a cost of some $2 billion. He said that he was unsure whether he would ever revive the giant wind project in the Texas Panhandle that has been on the drawing board for years.

“I think at this point anything’s possible,” he said in an interview.

Mr. Pickens cited several factors that caused him to alter his plans, including lack of transmission lines and a fall-off in the price of natural gas, with which wind competes as a power source. The project was also hurt by the financial turmoil that has stymied activity across the once-popular renewable energy industry. “Everything kind of slowed us down,” Mr. Pickens said.

Mr. Pickens’s struggles are symptomatic of a broader reversal of fortune for wind developers. This year, Emerging Energy Research, a consulting firm, expects a drop of nearly 25 percent in the amount of new wind power installed compared with last year. Two crucial provisions to aid renewable energy in the stimulus package passed in February have yet to be introduced, Keith Martin, a tax and project finance specialist with the law firm Chadbourne & Parke, said.

“People expect that once supply of capital picks up and stimulus rolls out, that things will improve in the second half of the year,” Mr. Martin said. “But they’re waiting.”

Mr. Pickens’s situation is of particular interest because he has spent much of the last year advocating an energy plan that includes increasing to 20 percent the amount of the nation’s electricity that is supplied by wind power. In his vision, that would free up natural gas now used to generate power so that it could be used in cars, reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. (Currently, wind accounts for just 1 percent of the nation’s electricity.)

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Vonne
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2009, 11:15:51 am »

it's interesting (although not surprising to many of us) that the "stimulus" is stalling spending in whole industries.  companies are holding off until they see what the feds are going to do.  it's also happening in telecommunications, where there are several billion bucks out there for "broadband stimulus". 

the next "surprise" to the "stimulists" will be that the private sector abandons whole sectors of various industries because huge federal outlays simply make it impossible to take a viable product to market, and hope to ever make a profit.

Wind farm projects, with rare exception, simply do not exist without significant federal subsidies for their construction and long term generation.  Market forces and such simply are not the predominant issue when making a business plan for them, it all comes down to how you can rob the tax payers, while receiving a pat on your back from the environmentalists.  Currently Wind farms, are just not a viable product for the market by their own merits.
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Miss Mia
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2009, 01:32:51 pm »

In Texas where Pickens was to build the wind farms, there just isn't the infrastructure in place for it.  The wind farms are in west Texas and the panhandle, but the majority of the population is in north central (DFW) and southeast (Houston).  Supposedly we're going to start building the infrastructure in 2010, but with the way Texas is run, I'm doubtful of that start date. 
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Vonne
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2009, 06:02:34 pm »

The infrastructure being spoken of, high voltage towers/lines and their accompanying switch gear and substations, I think is a bit deceiving.  As it almost sounds like an attempt is being made to state that it's the state's fault he can't build his wind farms, because the "infrastructure" isn't there.  Those assets are not like the city bringing water and sewage piping for street hook up access at your land parcel.  These are privately owned and managed assets which are a significant, approximately half, the cost of providing electrical power. 

Geography has a significant factor in determining where power can be economically produced.  The transportation of coal, piping of natural gas, and electrical grid access are issues which can kill plans for a power plant or drastically alter it's operating costs.  The same issues apply to wind farms, much to the dismay of many it seems.

I tend to liken these arguments to a merchant/importer crying foul, that he has to pay for his Chinese purchased merchandised to be shipped here.  Why can't the tax payer pay for that "infrastructure"?  Our U.S. Navy ships aren't that busy at the moment...
« Last Edit: July 20, 2009, 06:07:10 pm by Vonne » Logged
Miss Mia
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2009, 04:31:12 am »

I think the problem with Pickens is that the wind plants were to be in the west and panhandle of Texas, while the majority of the population is in north Texas (DFW) and southeast (Houston) and then the valley.  So there does have to be a way to transfer the wind power to those areas and that's not in place at this point.
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"I have the nerve to walk my own way, however hard, in my search for reality, rather than climb upon the rattling wagon of wishful illusions." - Zora Neale Hurston
Vonne
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2009, 11:18:47 pm »

I think the problem with Pickens is that the wind plants were to be in the west and panhandle of Texas, while the majority of the population is in north Texas (DFW) and southeast (Houston) and then the valley.  So there does have to be a way to transfer the wind power to those areas and that's not in place at this point.

Personally, I see the problem as... Pickens wants to become a power producer, while having approximately half his costs be subsidized by the tax payers.
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