T. Boone Pickens, oilman and swiftboat vet funder, in the WSJ:
How will we do it? We’ll start with wind power. Wind is 100% domestic, it is 100% renewable and it is 100% clean. Did you know that the midsection of this country, that stretch of land that starts in West Texas and reaches all the way up to the border with Canada, is called the “Saudi Arabia of the Wind”? It gets that name because we have the greatest wind reserves in the world. In 2008, the Department of Energy issued a study that stated that the U.S. has the capacity to generate 20% of its electricity supply from wind by 2030. I think we can do this or even more, but we must do it quicker.
My plan calls for taking the energy generated by wind and using it to replace a significant percentage of the natural gas that is now being used to fuel our power plants. Today, natural gas accounts for about 22% of our electricity generation in the U.S. We can use new wind capacity to free up the natural gas for use as a transportation fuel. That would displace more than one-third of our foreign oil imports. Natural gas is the only domestic energy of size that can be used to replace oil used for transportation, and it is abundant in the U.S. It is cheap and it is clean. With eight million natural-gas-powered vehicles on the road world-wide, the technology already exists to rapidly build out fleets of trucks, buses and even cars using natural gas as a fuel. Of these eight million vehicles, the U.S. has a paltry 150,000 right now. We can and should do so much more to build our fleet of natural-gas-powered vehicles.
Now T. Boone has his own motives, as we have discussed before (although I can not find the post- maybe it is one I drafted and discarded- maybe I just linked it to Tim hoping he would write about it), as he has invested heavily in wind power, but it doesn’t hurt that someone is pushing a plan that involves something more than drilling for oil. I forget where I saw it, but someone noted that the petroleum-centric plans being currently offered (MORE DRILLING! MORE DRILLING!) are very much like a heroin addict realizing he has a problem and coming to the conclusion that the solution is more heroin.
I think that one thing that is interesting about this whole debate (what little we have had) is that at least one portion of our energy plan for the future must involve re-thinking how we zone and build our communities and a need for reliable and usable public transportation, and other than Matt Yglesias and Atrios I never see anyone talking about that. We need some serious changes in our energy and transportation policies, and we need them now.
Of course, I know I am failing miserably as a blogger when I bring this subject up, because I am supposed to be disowning Obama for his FISA vote. Sadly, I think the fact that McCain, on top of any number of issues, is wrong about this, is more important. If we elect McCain, we will get more of the same. The price of all of our food, all of our goods, all of our transportation strikes me as a touch more important than Obama voting against a bill that was going to pass anyway and that he had no control over and that could not even be successfully filibustered.
*** Update ***
I should probably add that there is also significant upside to this being raised by Pickens, as he is not a DFH. As such, the media will probably notice his plan.