# Pickens Plan -alternative energy

## Should the US government provide Pickens with the money and recources they need?

• Total voters
19
Gold Member
"The Pickens Plan"
I've started this thread because I recently heard about a billionaires plan to utilize the alternative energy resources which the united states can provide and I am interested in what other people think about it. This effort is to help solve/ drastically reduce the United State's dependency on foreign oil by mainly utilizing wind and natural gas sources.
pretty much all the information you need is on their website (below)

The main website's link is here: http://www.pickensplan.org/"
a general information youtube video here: there is also a pretty good one on their site(above)http://youtube.com/user/pickensplan" [Broken]

Input from some professionals regarding their opinion on alternative energy and / or solutions the world energy crisis would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks

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OmCheeto
Gold Member
"The Pickens Plan"
I've started this thread because I recently heard about a billionaires plan to utilize the alternative energy resources which the united states can provide and I am interested in what other people think about it. This effort is to help solve/ drastically reduce the United State's dependency on foreign oil by mainly utilizing wind and natural gas sources.
pretty much all the information you need is on their website (below)

The main website's link is here: http://www.pickensplan.org/"
a general information youtube video here: there is also a pretty good one on their site(above)http://youtube.com/user/pickensplan" [Broken]

Input from some professionals regarding their opinion on alternative energy and / or solutions the world energy crisis would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks

Beat ya to it by almost two hours.

https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=1795573&postcount=106

For me it seems a no brainer. But then again, I'm not a professional anything.

I've only been "schooled" in thermodynamics, nuclear engineering, economics, electrical engineering, computer science, materials sciences, foreign language, electrical power transmission, physics, 7 terms of calculus, 1 class of philosophy, read my sisters college level psychology text when I was 14, and have an IQ of 160.

As I mentioned, energy independence is a no brainer. Modifying peoples behavior to achieve such a thing is the greatest challenge, IMHO.

Aspects of this question have been discussed from many points of view over the last few months:

Green Homes

There may be a lot more. I've not been here long.

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Gold Member
thanks, its hard to find these threads... even using PF's search engine.
then when you do find it you're like ......durr why didnt i think of that.

Gold Member
its nice to see some people with bucks willing to spend some.........
hopefully more will turn out like Pickens...

OmCheeto
Gold Member
thanks, its hard to find these threads... even using PF's search engine.
then when you do find it you're like ......durr why didnt i think of that.

I would ignore the PF search engine and use either google or yahoo. Their spiders are fighting for world domination.

I've found that if you type something unique in the forum, sometimes it shows up just minutes later on the two search engines.

Try "Lesbian auto mechanics repair Schwarzenegger's Noggin"

In quotes of course.

its nice to see some people with bucks willing to spend some.........
hopefully more will turn out like Pickens...

I doubt he will lose a penny on the venture. Wind and solar may seem expensive, but the long term payoff is almost a sure thing. But you never know, someone might invent something like cold fusion in a couple of years. Then all the naysayers can say "See! Told ya it was a stupid idea!" But I doubt it.

Gold Member
Im praying Chetto
I'm praying.....

OmCheeto
Gold Member
Im praying Chetto
I'm praying.....

Did you try the google bot test? It worked.

Oh, and by the way, the Pickens Plan isn't all that innovative.
It's just that now it's getting to be more than just an environmental issue.
My electrical utility has had a "clean wind" option available for years.
I pay an extra $3.50 a month and they take the money and buy their fancy windmills. I'm not sure if you saw my post last week where I mentioned that one of the wind farms was producing so much energy, they had to flip the switch as the power lines were at maximum capacity. "[URL [Broken] So, for the first time, BPA power managers began calling wind-farm operators with orders to curtail power generation.[/URL] I thought I was going to cry. TOO MUCH ENERGY! How serendipitous that our measly pittance to save the salmon would one day be a piece in an energy independence puzzle. Last edited by a moderator: vanesch Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member I thought I was going to cry. TOO MUCH ENERGY! But that's exactly the problem: too much energy one hour, not enough the next... Astronuc Staff Emeritus Science Advisor I thought I was going to cry. TOO MUCH ENERGY! BPA should send the excess energy to California, and displace some of the generation from gas turbines which cycle more rapidly than hydropower. If one believes in the market place, the demand is there, so the federal government does not need to be subsidizing energy generators. FredGarvin Science Advisor I'd like to see someone divert the obscene amount of energy used for the big lift to get water to southern California. Put some energy into making that area self sufficient in water and the country could save a very large amount of energy. OmCheeto Gold Member But that's exactly the problem: too much energy one hour, not enough the next... How many liquid-solid-gas hydrocarbon, hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, and solar plants are there? One simply turns down the output of the dirty plants when the clean outputs are operating. It's called load shifting. I used to do it all the time. And it's not like it's a square wave or something. Astronuc said: BPA should send the excess energy to California, and displace some of the generation from gas turbines which cycle more rapidly than hydropower. When I heard the news on the radio, that was the situation they stated. The power lines to California were maxed out. If one believes in the market place, the demand is there, so the federal government does not need to be subsidizing energy generators. Well...... maybe not the generators. But the deep pockets of the Feds might get the transmission lines up for California a bit faster. Something like the works projects they had during the depression. Although I'm not a commy or a socialist, the market place hasn't always stuck me as having the national interest at heart. If we'd waited for the market place to get us into space, we'd never have gone. Pickens plan is fine, but it is just one of a number of mega-projects that should have been started years ago. Astronuc Staff Emeritus Science Advisor I have yet to see a truly free market. I do notice that prices seem to be the same, and that there is little competition. And certainly Enron and others manipulated the market by withholding supply until the California market was desparate to pay many times the normal price. In NY, there was a move to deregulate with the idea that electricity would become less expensive through competition. The local utilities sold their generation and became strictly T&D. In theory, I could buy electricity from any provider and then pay a T&D fee the local utility. However, the cheap electricity is far away and there essentially was no savings. The financial companies and lawyers made millions of$ doing deals, but the consumers did not save anything. Some people who switch ended up paying more, and when the grid went down, we were without power for a couple of days, even though the local utility's grid was attached to several power plants. They should have been able to isolate the local area and provide power, but thanks to deregulations and restructuring - that wasn't possible.

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
I'd like to see someone divert the obscene amount of energy used for the big lift to get water to southern California. Put some energy into making that area self sufficient in water and the country could save a very large amount of energy.
What I don't understand is why the mid-west gets horrific floods yet the aquifers and California are dry.

Why can't the flood waters be collected and diverted to the aquifer or to California?

In S. California, they ought to use solar thermal desalination plants way down south from LA down to San Diego. Every time I fly to SD, I see aqueducts going through the desert. That makes absolutely no sense to me.

Gold Member
Did you try the google bot test? It worked.

Oh, and by the way, the Pickens Plan isn't all that innovative.
It's just that now it's getting to be more than just an environmental issue.
My electrical utility has had a "clean wind" option available for years.
I pay an extra $3.50 a month and they take the money and buy their fancy windmills. I'm not sure if you saw my post last week where I mentioned that one of the wind farms was producing so much energy, they had to flip the switch as the power lines were at maximum capacity. "[URL [Broken] So, for the first time, BPA power managers began calling wind-farm operators with orders to curtail power generation.[/URL] I thought I was going to cry. TOO MUCH ENERGY! How serendipitous that our measly pittance to save the salmon would one day be a piece in an energy independence puzzle. a big issue here is being able to store and or transmit that energy to where it its needed... What I don't understand is why the mid-west gets horrific floods yet the aquifers and California are dry. Why can't the flood waters be collected and diverted to the aquifer or to California? In S. California, they ought to use solar thermal desalination plants way down south from LA down to San Diego. Every time I fly to SD, I see aqueducts going through the desert. That makes absolutely no sense to me. im no expert astornuc but my guess is that there is too much water coming down from the mountains too fast to either store or divert; resulting in floods. fixing this is not a small undertaking and would cost tens of millions. and i also agree with vanesch about supply and demand. oh boy, if we came up with a brilliant way of mass producing effective energy storage; we wouldent have many of these problems we have today. its just an issue of someone willing to spend a lot of money to fund the research. i think we should be putting more and more into this; knowing that is a blockade for technology in a big way. Last edited by a moderator: Ivan Seeking Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member I think Pickens has his eye on the ball. This isn't about oil or the environment, this is about the almost$700 Billion sent annually to foreign oil suppliers. We need to solve the rest of the problems, but we can't do it if we bankrupt the country, which is what Pickens is worried about. He describes it as the "largest transfer of wealth in history", and he thinks we are running out of time to end this rape.

I think his idea is brilliant: The easiest way to immediately reduce the dependence on foreign oil is to burn natural gas currently used for the grid, instead of petro, as much as possible, and replace the NG with wind power for the grid.

Brilliant!!! No wonder he's a billionare.

My uncle [worked for an oil company - Richfield, which is now part of ARCO] drove a NG powered car when I was a kid. It is a tried and true technology.

Note also that he says what I've been saying all along: We don't have the time to build and commission enough nuclear plants, even if we wanted to.

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I think Boone is on the right track! Both wind and CNG is proven technology today. The idea of replacing natural gas with wind in power generation is great. Natural gas in compressed form is used widely in many countries today. Much more gas could be produced with new technology for producing from sub-sea hydrate formations in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore South Carolina in 1000 ft. water depths. If this production is commercialized natural gas would be plentiful for many years.

Solar power is also a good prospect for reducing power generation's dependence on gas. Both solar and wind have cycling production capabilities based on sunny days and wind speed. Power generation must follow the demand curve and this leaves gaps that must be picked up be storage (batteries or pumped hydro) or the use of peaking turbines on gas or diesel. Coal and nuclear will continue to provide the base load power generation.

What the US Government must do is provide the land use in areas that are ideally suited for wind or solar and streamline the permitting process to expedite the development of this type of power generation.

stewartcs
I think Boone is on the right track! Both wind and CNG is proven technology today. The idea of replacing natural gas with wind in power generation is great. Natural gas in compressed form is used widely in many countries today. Much more gas could be produced with new technology for producing from sub-sea hydrate formations in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore South Carolina in 1000 ft. water depths. If this production is commercialized natural gas would be plentiful for many years.

Solar power is also a good prospect for reducing power generation's dependence on gas. Both solar and wind have cycling production capabilities based on sunny days and wind speed. Power generation must follow the demand curve and this leaves gaps that must be picked up be storage (batteries or pumped hydro) or the use of peaking turbines on gas or diesel. Coal and nuclear will continue to provide the base load power generation.

What the US Government must do is provide the land use in areas that are ideally suited for wind or solar and streamline the permitting process to expedite the development of this type of power generation.

I like the hydrate idea...but I don't think they have any way of harvesting it.

The main problem with Pickens idea is the required area of land. The government doesn't own it so in order for them to acquire it they would have to take it by Eminent Domain. This is good for everyone except the guy who owns the land.

CS

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I like the hydrate idea...but I don't think they have any way of harvesting it.

The main problem with Pickens idea is the required area of land. The government doesn't own it so in order for them to acquire it they would have to take it by Eminent Domain. This is good for everyone except the guy who owns the land.

CS

The people who own the land could still retain ownership and use the land for cattle or agriculture, while making an additional profit by renting the land for wind use. It could be a real sweet deal for landowners.

One of the richest families around here owns an ideal site for radio and cell towers - a small hill along the I-5 corridor. They rent the land out for antennas and make a small fortune each year.

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I thought 22% was the amount of energy supplied to the grid from natural gas, but in my own notes [DOE 1998] I show NG at 23.2%, and petro at 38.8% of our TOTAL energy supply. This is of ~ 100 Quads of energy annually.

If we can really generate that much power using wind, then we could virtually eliminate the need for imported oil. I didn't think that was possible. Is it possible to produce 22 Quads of energy annually using wind?

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Imagine what this would mean to our economy. It would be like handing out $2300 checks to every person in the US, every year. Ivan Seeking Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member But that's exactly the problem: too much energy one hour, not enough the next... I don't know that this will be such an issue if we are talking about generators ranging from the Northern to Southern border of the US. I am thinking that we would see enough averaging to negate the dead zones. Also, it's not like solar where we go dead at night. In principle, in many parts of the US, turbines could operate almost continuously. We also have some buffering from coal, nuclear, and hydro power in that they can go to maximum output when wind conditions are generally unfavorable. Likewise, high-wind days would allow coal plants [in particular] to reduce their outputs. stewartcs Science Advisor The people who own the land could still retain ownership and use the land for cattle or agriculture, while making an additional profit by renting the land for wind use. It could be a real sweet deal for landowners. One of the richest families around here owns an ideal site for radio and cell towers - a small hill along the I-5 corridor. They rent the land out for antennas and make a small fortune each year. I suppose that's true. But there's still the problem and cost of the transmission lines from these areas to the grid. It seems like it would take a tremendous amount of land though to replace the energy currently obtained from fossil fuels. As a side note, there is a huge amount of natural gas off the coast of the Carolinas and Virginia too. I suspect that the states would eventually ease the bans on exploration in those areas. CS Gold Member Solar power is also a good prospect for reducing power generation's dependence on gas. Both solar and wind have cycling production capabilities based on sunny days and wind speed. Power generation must follow the demand curve and this leaves gaps that must be picked up be storage (batteries or pumped hydro) or the use of peaking turbines on gas or diesel. Coal and nuclear will continue to provide the base load power generation. What the US Government must do is provide the land use in areas that are ideally suited for wind or solar and streamline the permitting process to expedite the development of this type of power generation. Imagine what this would mean to our economy. It would be like handing out$2300 checks to every person in the US, every year.

beauty aint it Ivan...

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im all for windmills; but there are some characteristics about them that i dont like.
something i think many people don't realize or know is that whither it is a windy day, or a really windy day, it doesn't matter. windmills are either turning at 1 possible speed, or not at all. this is because of the US's default 60Hz in the grid. different inputs from power sources of different frequencies will produce "beats" which we cant have. windmills don't crank out more juice into the grid if it is an especially windy day. unfortunately.

i wish this could be easily overcame. its easy for a single house that has a generator on top of the house being AC/DC depending on the electronic device; unfortunatly that is not society's norm...

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i think my next car will be natural gas...........yep.

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
It just happens that the NG slice of our total fossil fuel energy, and the NG slice of the grid are both about 22%. That lead me to think he meant total energy.

We use about 500,000 million cubic feet of NG monthly to produce electricity.
http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/ng/ng_cons_sum_dcu_nus_m.htm
http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/tablees1a.html#_ftnref3

We get about 1020 BTU per cf of NG
http://www.energy.rochester.edu/units/conversions.pdf

So we burn a total of about 5E11 BTU of NG monthly for electrical power.

At 125,000 BTUs per gallon for gasoline, and assuming approximately the same efficiency [as a best case], we get the equivalent of about 4 billion gallons of gasoline per month, or 130 million gallons per day. We use about 400 million gallons of gasoline per day.

So this would displace about 25%-30% of our gasoline consumption. It would all cost well over a trillion dollars just for the turbines and infrastructure. So at $4 per gallon equivalent for gasoline, I show a payback in about 6 years if we consider only capital costs. But aside from operating costs, etc, I'm not sure how much we need to derate the efficiency for NG as compared to gasoline combustion. We wouldn't kill the$700 billion dollar annual petro deficit, but we might reduce it by 100 billion or so.

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Gold Member
......
We wouldn't kill the \$700 billion dollar annual petro deficit, but we might reduce it by 100 billion or so.

anything at this point to help the petro deficit would be awesome. for the usa (haha Pakistan!!)

regarding NG cars; if i had a cheap supply of NG (propane right now costs about the same as gas......) i would use it to fuel the (unleaded fuel) car i have now. all i would have to do is exchange the fuel tank meant for NG and then get a different carburetor. among other little things.
could methane provide enough energy per cf to run a car effectively? compared to propane.

methane sources are all around us; waist and compost are going to be a nice thing to have around.... (for methane generation) i still don't understand why that isn't more popular in the US. hey!--you could generate your own methane at your home from your waste! (enough for a car?)
there's green thinking for you; using your crap to fuel your car (from the fumes in principal)

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what is the problem with powering your car with CO2? obviously we've got too much of that. that's the dream green car for ya...