The day after I posted this about patenting green energy innovations: Corporate Managers: Are You Failing to Obtain Maximum Value from Your Energy Savings and Green Innovations by Ignoring Patent Issues?, multi-billionaire oil man T. Boone Pickens announced The Pickens Plan. This plan, if successfully implemented, will constitute a giant step toward reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil by embracing domestically-produced green energy as a significant source of America’s power. To show he is serious about this plan, Mr. Pickens intends to spend $58 million of his own money to publicize it and, if the number of radio commercials I have heard about his idea in the last week is any sign, he is well on his way to spending his advertising budget.
In the last week, much has been written, both laudatory and critical, about The Pickens Plan. You can check out some of the articles indexed by Google News here yourself but, to briefly summarize, the plan calls for 1000’s of wind turbines situated in America’s wind belt—an investment of up to $1 trillion. New power lines would be needed to connect the wind farms to users in various parts of the US who are not currently connected to the power grid that would be fed by these turbines—an investment of up to $200 billion. Mr. Pickens states that about 20% of America’s power needs could be served by a fully-functioning, wind-fed power grid. In a second part of the plan, natural gas that is currently used for electrical power generation would be channeled for use as a transportation fuel.