As I was mentioning in Monday’s article, the US billionaire T Boone Pickens issued a most impressive plan on energy independence for the United States of America.
Mainly based on the massive use of wind energy, alongside with solar, this plan might bring huge changes in the United States’ energy mix and greenhouse gases emissions.
Shifting a fifth of the US electricity mix to renewables – as Pickens proposes – is a great idea that proves to be realistic and economically viable.
Here are some extracts found on the website of the Pickens Plan :
Studies from around the world show that the Great Plains states are home to the greatest wind energy potential in the world — by far.
The Department of Energy reports that 20% of America’s electricity can come from wind. North Dakota alone has the potential to provide power for more than a quarter of the country.
Today’s wind turbines stand up to 410 feet tall, with blades that stretch 148 feet in length. The blades collect the wind’s kinetic energy. In one year, a 3-megawatt wind turbine produces as much energy as 12,000 barrels of imported oil.
Wind power currently accounts for 48 billion kWh of electricity a year in the United States — enough to serve more than 4.5 million households. That is still only about 1% of current demand, but the potential of wind is much greater.
(…) Building wind facilities in the corridor that stretches from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota could produce 20% of the electricity for the United States at a cost of $1 trillion. It would take another $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns.
That’s a lot of money, but it’s a one-time cost. And compared to the $700 billion we spend on foreign oil every year, it’s a bargain.
(…) In addition to creating new construction and maintenance jobs, thousands of Americans will be employed to manufacture the turbines and blades. These are high skill jobs that pay on a scale comparable to aerospace jobs.
Plus, wind turbines don’t interfere with farming and grazing, so they don’t threaten food production or existing local economies.
(…) We currently use natural gas to produce 22% of our electricity. Harnessing the power of wind to generate electricity will give us the flexibility to shift natural gas away from electricity generation and put it to use as a transportation fuel — reducing our dependence on foreign oil by more than one-third.
The Pickens Plan is a bridge to the future — a blueprint to reduce foreign oil dependence by harnessing domestic energy alternatives, and buy us time to develop even greater new technologies.
Building new wind generation facilities and better utilizing our natural gas resources can replace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports in 10 years. But it will take leadership.
Even if no mention is done of climate change or global warming, this plan if carried out fully would decrease in an important way US greenhouse gases emissions.
Be sure that I will keep you posted on the advances of this plan. So for this and for much more, stay tuned !