Global environmental challenges
Billionaire T. Boone Pickens is spending $2 billion on a bunch of windmills and so far has no way to get the electricity they will produce to market. Last December he said he was a touch anxious, but on Wednesday he didn’t seem worried at all.
Pickens is pretty sure President Barack Obama will get some new power lines built to those plains in the Texas panhandle, but if need be, the oil-man-turned-renewable-energy-advocate will take his toys elsewhere.
“I’m not going to end up with 687 turbines in my garage. They are going to be sticking up spinning someplace,” he said at a San Francisco stop on his latest tour to drum up support for his plan to use wind power and natural gas-fueled vehicles to wean the Unites States from imported oil.
Pickens expects the price of a barrel of oil to hit $75 by the end of the year as OPEC cuts production, and between that and the desire for energy independence he sees Obama finding a way to get transmission lines built from Texas to markets that need electricity – like California.
When Al Gore challenged the U.S. to produce all of its electricity from renewable sources in 10 years, his aggressive plan to combat climate change was pitted against another recently-unveiled proposal, from Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.
Gore, a former Democratic vice president and Nobel Prize-winning crusader on climate change, announced his plan last week and has since promoted it on U.S. television. Expected to cost between $1.5 trillion and $3 trillion, Gore advocates investment in wind, solar and geothermal energy, energy efficiency and a national power grid. He also wants to retain energy production from nuclear and hydroelectric power plants, and invest in technology to store and capture carbon dioxide from coal and gas.
But this graph forecasts that coal, the dirtiest power source in terms of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, will still dominate global power generation growth for decades into the future.