Thursday, January 14, 2010

T. Boone: Take Two

Oilman turned wind promoter and gas fan T. Boone Pickens is back on the media trail with a revised version of his Pickens Plan.  As you will remember, the Pickens Plan advocated the creation of incentives to advance the development wind power (along with the associated transmission infrastructure) and the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel.  Now that the rabble associated with the health care debate has quieted down a bit, Pickens is launching a new media campaign that refocuses both the goal of his plan and his media message. 

Pickens made news this week when he put his massive proposed west Texas wind farm on the shelf, declaring that the utility transportation was insufficient and that large scale wind projects are not able to be financed in a market where natural gas is lower than $6/MMBtu.  As a result, Pickens has refocused on the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel, urging the federal government to convert its auto fleet to natgas, among other goals. 

The refocus on natural gas is an economic reality.

Pickens will release three new television commercials today.  The ads will focus on national security and the economy, two concepts that are intertwined around our use of foreign oil.  The message that often gets overlooked in the energy debate is that tens of millions of dollars leave this country forever every hour of every day in payment for fuel.  Even if those funds went to nations who were our BFF, it still represents a huge wealth transfer.  By purchasing domestic fuel, the loop is closed and that money stays in this country and is recirculated through jobs, investment, equipment purchases, taxes, etc. 

The big buzz phrase lately is that we are going through a "jobless recovery" from last year's recession.  Diverting fuel purchases from foreign oil to domestic natural gas offers a huge economic stimulus that would lead to much job creation.

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