Thursday, July 22, 2010

I NEVER believed Pickens would ever come through on wind

My father's brother was a petroleum engineer who worked for a Bartlesville Oklahoma company named Phillips 66.  Bartlesville was obviously a company town and my uncle lived in an overeducated neighborhood filled with folks who designed refineries, found oil in the remotest corners of the planet, and tried to figure out ever more efficient ways to extract value from a barrel of crude.  One of his neighbors figured out how to make styrene from the sludge at the bottom of the barrel which made him industrial-class royalty in any book.

Phillips was an interesting oil guy and his company town in remote Oklahoma sported a symphony orchestra, an office tower designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and an olympic-sized pool that regularly hosted AAU swim meets.  And this little paradise for intellectuals responded with of host of important innovations.

So in 1984, this pirate swaggers into town to "extract some shareholder value" from these pampered scientists.  The pirate's name was T. Boone Pickens.  The residents of Bartlesville were understandably horrified and eventually drove him off but at a horrible cost.  Phillips was now so deeply in debt, those expensive science labs became unaffordable as a river of income was diverted to debt service.  Not even a war could have done as much damage to Phillips Petroleum as T. Boone Pickens.  The Phillips of incredible innovation is no more.  The man is a destroyer of the highest order.

So when T. Boone Pickens said he was going to get into renewables, I was HIGHLY skeptical.  How could a man who spent his life wrecking things of great value suddenly become a builder?  So the following does NOT surprise me AT ALL!
T. Boone Pickens Just Dropkicked The American Wind Industry
Gus Lubin | Jul. 22, 2010, 3:09 PM 
T. Boone Pickens' newest version of the Pickens Plan to reduce oil imports depends almost entirely on natural gas. Wind power, which played a key role in the original Pickens Plan, isn't even mentioned.
Which is clearly a bearish sign for US wind.
Forrest Wilder at Texas Observer has more on the Pickens turnaround:
Recall that the original Pickens Plan had two main, interlocking components: First, thousands of new wind turbines would be installed in the Great Plains along with the infrastructure needed to move the electricity to cities. Second, the wind turbines would free up natural gas – currently burned to make electricity – for use in vehicles instead of instead of foreign oil. more

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