T. Boone Pickens Abandons U.S. wind power

From Slashdot:

In 2008, billionaire T. Boone Pickens unveiled his ‘Pickens Plan’ on national TV, which calls for America to end its dependence on foreign oil by increasing use of wind power and natural gas. Over the next two years, he spent $80 million on TV commercials and $2 billion on General Electric wind turbines.

Unfortunately market forces were not favorable to Mr. Pickens, and in December 2010 he announced that he is getting out of the wind power business. What does he plan to do with his $2 billion worth of idle wind turbines? He is trying to sell them to Canada, because of Canadian law that mandates consumers to buy more renewable electricity regardless of cost.

On his website he says this about 2011-

We’re not going away. If I’ve learned anything during the many years of my business career it is this: No one has ever accomplished his or her goal by quitting or failing to meet and overcome a challenge. You reach your goal by hitching up your pants and wading back into the fight.

That’s what I’m going to do in 2011. And I know you’ll be with me.

Likely the market forces will have a say.

Here’s a video of his plan in better days-

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Wind Power is going away, again, because of the same old problem: It is unsustainable. Who would burn more than 3 barrels of oil to recover 1 barrel? This is the fraud of wind power with an EROEI of 0.29. Good riddance!
And Merry Christmas to all.

latitude

another con man out to make a buck……….
only it’s our buck and we are paying for it

The Expulsive

With any luck the election next year will allow Ontarians to expel the believers in magic jobs (we need something to replace autos don’t you know, just don’r tell GM or Chysler workers it’s done) and end the nightmare of excessive subsidies planned by the Ontario government (which does not appear to have a cogent plan).
My favorite story are those near Wolfe Island near Kingston who are bothered by the flashing air navigation lights (never thought about that I’m sure, even people in up-state NY are bothered). The area is unsightly now and the only people I know who thing they are “attractive” are Torontonians living over 200 km away. But don’e fear, the Ontario government has mandated that turbines can’t be built within 5 km of shore, ensuring no loss of votes in wet Toronto.
T. Boone has confirmed what I have always thought, these things are only built if someone else pays the freight.

Ralph

Take one down? Laker board discusses future of school’s turbines
December 24, 2010
PIGEON — What is the main purpose of the Elkton-Pigeon-Bay Port Laker wind turbines? Is it to educate students and others, or is it to save the district money?
How much can the district save?
Without the turbines operating, the district would pay about $50,500 for electricity at the elementary school per year.
Last year, the district saved $9,563 by running the wind turbines. However, because the district replaced the set of blades on the front turbine last year after the 2008 blade loss, the district ended up spending more money on the repair than what the turbines saved — about $3,000 to $4,000 more.
http://www.michigansthumb.com/articles/2010/12/24/news/local_news/doc4d11f21351a01151892092.txt

R. de Haan

I’ve made a nice walk today in a landscape similar to that on the video, only covered with 40 cm of snow. Beautiful weather, freezing cold.
Non of the wind mills was producing any power. No wind.
And the solar panels on the roofs due to the thick pack of snow also out of order.
It’s 100% in need of back up power
Wind and solar therefore isn’t alternative energy but obsolete energy.
The ultimate waste of money.

eric

It is my understanding that his company is retaing water rights awarded to them for putting up the turbines. Now that he’s not going to do that it will be interesting if they “sell” them back at a nice profit.

C Hirner

Merry Christmas to all!
As a Canadian citizen, resident and taxpayer, I must say – this news is craptastic!!!!
As a regular reader of WUWT, I must also say yuck. This plan of soaking the taxpayer to build wind power monstrosities is a terrible idea for all the reasons we well know.
I need to call my Minister of Parliament and the Prime Minister!!
Best to all this holiday season.

hell_is_like_newark

Now if the State of NJ would abandon wind (and solar). My electrical rates went from $0.12 to over $0.18 in large part because of this stupid ‘green’ energy. Utilities are mandated to buy the energy credits and those cost of course are passed off to the consumer.

Latimer Alder

Surely T. Boone Pickens must have been a sidesman for Bleeding Gums Murphy? Before he met Bart and Lisa of course…….

JimBrock

Another example of a business that cannot survive without government subsidies (or, in t he case of Canada, mandates). No wonder the economy is having a hard time rebounding.

This is a more important landmark than Climategate.
TBoone isn’t dumb, to put it mildly. He knew from the start that wind power was just another name for natural gas, with the windmills supplying the subsidies and decoration and regulatory approval while the natural gas supplies the electricity. Now that he’s decided to give up the pretty pinwheels and produce only the electricity, others will follow.

bladeshearer

In the video, Pickens says 20% of the jobs in town are wind energy jobs. New homes are being built, new schools, etc. So what happens to Sweetwater TX now? Do the jobs follow the windmills to Canada? What about the infrastructure built around the wind bubble?
For Pickens, a few billion here or there doesn’t hurt much. For the people who bought into his dream, it will.

Keep the turbines please! They are useless!

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Hoser

The Pickens plan was never about wind power. It was about water. Pickens has groundwater rights on the land where his wind turbines stand (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/4275059). Wind power was merely window dressing. And since Texas became the state with the most wind power production, electricity prices there have risen more than 50%. Green energy is NOT cheap.
We need inexpensive domestic energy. Energy independence should be the next major goal of the US. We can do it, but it will require a commitment to new nuclear technologies. We need to power a new industrial revolution to regrow the middle class. If we don’t revitalize our economy starting with energy, we either 1) fall under the shadow of China and lose our leadership position, or 2) have to fight for limited foreign energy resources and likely wind up on the losing end. We must become competitive again, and not through a low-wage workforce, but through more efficient production by innovation. We will have to change our mindset from open warfare between business management and labor to partnership for the benefit of all. We will see more jobs when businesses become more profitable and need to grow. Government can’t create jobs, but it can impead that process by keeping taxes high and over-regulating. Today, too many businesses are dependent on markets created by government regulations. Regulations also serve to limit competition. The big boys like that. Increasingly, the free market is a fiction.

James Sexton

Sweet Christmas present! Merry Christmas to all.

DirkH

“After 30 months, countless TV appearances, and $80 million spent on an extravagant PR campaign, T. Boone Pickens has finally admitted the obvious: The wind energy business isn’t a very good one. ”
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704368004576027310664695834.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Keith Battye

I must say that I thought his foray into wind was more expeditionary than determined investment. It seems that TBP has found that wind power, aside from niche applications, is not the electrical future the enthusiasts claim it to be.
It is one thing power a small house or a boat battery charger but when considering smelting aluminum or running a can line you are in several whole different orders of power demand. Reliability and storage are also very big issues and any storage solutions will benefit the other means of generation as well.
TBP has now had good first hand, and knowing him, detailed experience of the renewables world and his decision to walk away comes as no surprise at all. It will be very interesting to see how much he now invests in coal, gas and nuclear generation because as a corollary to getting out of wind ( and no doubt solar for the same reasons ) he must surely see the future is in steam.

DirkH

This is beautiful:
“Today the Obama administration made a formal complaint to the World Trade Organization. It says China is illegally subsidizing its wind companies. ”
http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/12/22/pm-major-investor-pulls-out-of-wind-power/
I thought all green jobs on the planet were by their very definition subsidized?

1DandyTroll

The blades on the mill go round round round, go round round round
The blades on the mill go round round rou?!? WTF!
But the blades on the mill don’t go round round round when:
No wind wind wind
Too cold cold cold
Too windy windy windy
No grease grease grease
No back up coal coal coal
When the blades on the mill go round round round
You get birds on the ground ground ground
When the blades on the mill don’t go round round round
It be pretty neat with nuclear heat heat heat, nuclear heat heat heat

Sam Hall

As a fellow Texan, if you ever have the chance to shake hands with T. Boone Pickens, be sure to count your fingers afterward.

pat

He couldn’t quite pull off the scam to rob the taxpayer, and with the GOP holding the purse strings, decided to get out before the exposure of what a fraud this energy source really is.

Brian Johnson uk

I could have told TBP not to invest in wind, saved him billions and I would have taken just 10% of the savings!
I hope the UK Energy Minister follows TBP’s decisions on wind. That will save the UK taxpayer billions.

Rhoda R

I read some speculation, several years ago, that the water rights were what he was really after althougth I didn’t understand why water rights were (as opposed to access rights) an issue with wind power.

Ric Locke

Pickens is a very bright guy, who has made his fortune exploiting the unintended consequences of Government regulations. In this case, the subsidies for putting up windmills have allowed him to acquire a lot of property and water rights, plus sell natural gas to backup the nonexistent “wind power”.
He is primarily a “vulture capitalist” who buys up firms with illiquid assets and big obligations; he closes the company, fires the workers, sells off the assets, stiffs the creditors, banks the money, and goes to the next opportunity. The Congress has just handed him a windfall in the form of the estate tax, which will allow him to work his magic on family firms whose founder dies: Treasury gets its cut, the Chinese get the machinery and intellectual property, the heirs get (maybe) a new car, and the employees and creditors get bupkis. Given that, he has no need to continue scamming “renewable energy”.

Jimbo

This is why AGW is so hard to pull down. The theory is weak yet it has many industialists involved for the sole purpose of making a financial killing. Even the oil companies have come on board hoping to make billions from a naive and frightened public. Politicians see more power and taxes. Greens see a magic bullet (co2) curing many of their environmental concerns.
In years to come people need to be tried in court and locked away for a very long time.

Mark Twang

Three words: impending Spanish insolvency.
Thanks in part to “green” subsidies. And they bang on about sustainability.
Take note, Pickens, or change your name to Slim.

DocattheAutopsy

Maybe someone should tell him about thorium nuclear plants?

Baa Humbug

What happens to those massive concrete slabs embedded in the ground when the turbines are taken away?

Andrew M

For the life of me, I don’t get the green left’s fascination with wind power. Having regularly driven out west, particularly in North Dakota, the windmills are a particular eyesore in lands where one can see forever, much worse than the oil rigs. I would assume they have very similar environmental effects as well, with roads needing to be cut, hydraulic oils spilling, etc etc. Here in New York State, the greenies rightfully lead the effort to protect our beautiful ridges from development, including natural gas drilling, yet continue to push for wind and solar initiatives.. I wonder if they have considered how bad the ridges would look covered in 150 meter high turbines.
As for Boone Pickens.. he’s a capitalist true and true. I never believed for a minute he ever was in this for anything but to make money. This is purely a business decision for him. I still believe natural gas is going to grow in use, particularly as it gets colder..

TXRed

Hoosier is correct in that T. Boone Pickens is still keeping his water rights in Roberts and other counties, even as he abandons wind power. Pickens is a firm believer and practitioner in the art of using S.E. M. – someone else’s money – to accomplish his goals. If he has not found enough outside takers for his wind energy plan, then that’s the end of the plan. He is keeping the water because he plans to sell it down state to San Antonio or elsewhere – provided that the purchaser pay for the pumps, pipeline, rights of way and other assorted costs.

Douglas DC

He,he,ho,ho. this is good Christmas present.
“Split Atoms, not Birds”…

John F. Hultquist

There are numerous wind power projects in the State of Washington but I do not seem to find a report on the actual power produced. On clear days I can even see some of the towers of one project but only a few of 100 plus of them. This morning it is not clear so I’ve no idea what is going on.
In searching for info, I found a site that claims to be “A Social Action Network fighting for Energy Independence” and operates under the heading of “Push.PickensPlan.com” —
The site appears to be about 2 years old; had minor action for about a year, and now seems abandoned.
Questions come to mind:
When will the site be taken down and will its bones be around for a long time so that future historians will know about such things?
When subsidies are withdrawn or decreased for wind projects will they be maintained? If not will they be dismantled?
The states that will be most impacted by the Obama-EPA war on coal power plants will require higher priced power. What will that be? Who will pay?
Lots more but it is Christmas morning. Using cheap hydro power from a Columbia River dam I’m going to bake a pecan pie and take it to the neighbors. They have the turkey in the oven.
Merry Christmas!

Justa Joe

There’s a sucker born every minute. No doubt T. Boone got what he wanted out of the deal. The suckers are the people that bought into $80 million worth of hype.
When I first saw T. Boone’s TV spots I knew this was a loser for the American Tax-payer. T. Boone wrapping himself in the flag of American “energy independence” while peddling this snake oil was disgusting in the extreme. I saw this coming from a mile away.

John F. Hultquist
Ricard Wakefield

Note to Mr. Pickens. I’m on the energy policy advisory committee for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives. We are going to kill the Green Energy Act once we get into power in Oct next year. We will do what we have to to stop the FIT program because it is causing power rates to skyrocket, doubling in the past 7 years. Businesses are leaving because it is cheeper to do business elsewhere where power costs are less. So keep your idle wind turbines, we don’t want them.

Duke C.

Wind power isn’t the only alternative energy source on the chopping block.
Taxpayer funded SpectraWatt (a solar cell manufacturer) is shutting down it’s New York plant after less than one year in business. Reason- global COOLING in Europe! Seems there is little demand for solar cells when the skies are gray and cloudy.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a trend…
http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20101222/BUSINESS/12220339/Solar-cell-maker-SpectraWatt-plans-shutdown
Merry Christmas, All!

Ricard Wakefield

FYI: Analysis on wind in Ontario OntarioWindPerformance.wordpress.com

Pamela Gray

The wind farm was subsidized icing on dog turd. He was after eminent domain in order to get aquifer water to Dallas. Some handy legislation was passed, or rather buried, in bigger water bills that would allow land condemnation for a water pipeline to run next to windmill powerlines in order to get needed power AND water to far away places in Texas, namely Dallas. The ranchers that were owners of that soon to be condemnable long strip of land weren’t happy.
While he tried to win their cooperation by dancing a carrot, as in letting them in on the “water company”, he failed to ask first. In Texas, you don’t take unless you are willing to stare down a gun barrel pointed at you. Apparently, he flinched?

I’m happy to see the people managed to block Pickens from using government to loot us for this project, but his threat to get government to loot us for another project next year is scary.

Mike

WUWT said: “Unfortunately market forces were not favorable to Mr. Pickens, …”
But the article cited says this:
“Two years ago, Pickens placed a $1.5 billion wind turbine order from GE. But the problem: transporting the energy from West Texas to the rest of the state. Pickens planned to build his own transmission, but the approvals fell through,….” http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/12/22/pm-major-investor-pulls-out-of-wind-power/
So, it was not market forces but government bureaucracy that caused Pickens to back off for now. I would think WUWT readers would be appalled and press the government to give Pickens the green light for his enterprise. (I don’t know if the approval is needed from Texas state government or the federal government – or both.)

It was a scam from start to finish. He needed the right-of-way, once he had it, he created his own water authority. Thank the eco-tards for this one too.
http://washingtonexaminer.com/node/207036

Tom T

I thought this was the only way to save the country if not the world and now T Boone is quitting, so he is was only interested in making a buck, not in saving the planet, what will you tell me next, there is no Santa Claus?
Merry Christmas Everyone.

Pamela Gray

I just went out to brush snow off my solar cell. Damn. It was covered in thick bumpy ice under the snow I brushed off. Large or small, wind and solar power is far too sensitive to weather to be of any substantial use in many parts of the country.
By the way, if cities continue to allow development that sucks their available water dry, distant land owners with water rights may end up trying to do exactly what Pickens tried to do, sell the water that just happens to flow under his land. At least at the last minute, his county placed a restriction on folks like him. He could not draw down the aquifer past 50% of its full state.
States and counties probably need to put into place restrictions on the sale of aquifer water in order to prevent drainage to the last drop by people not living in that county. And it has nothing to do with global warming or cooling. It has to do with population growth and development beyond a city’s means to supply sustainable water to its ever expanding belly.
So remember, future taking and sale of water has nothing to do with climate change. It is all about unrestricted population growth in water sucking cities. And you think CO2 control stirs a hornet’s nest.

GregO

Amazing.
One can’t help but wonder how much of this story will be covered in MSM. I recall the media going ga-ga when TBP announced his big wind idea. I also remember some time later it being reported that TBP wouldn’t permit any of the windmills on his personal ranch in Texas – too ugly.
Here’s a question: if these windmills are ugly now, what will they look like in 20+ years if indeed, natural gas, nuke, oil and coal will rule the future of energy? Will we look back and ask, “what on earth were we thinking?”

Mark Twang

Pickens: proving yet again that America loves an asshole as long as he’s rich.
Count you fingers, indeed.

ShrNfr

A Happy Harrop and the best of the season to all.

Pamela Gray

So the back story has to be about the disruption of his plans for a water pipeline filled with distant aquifer water. The legislation allowing eminent domain for a water pipeline was connected to eminent domain for his wind turbine powerlines. If he isn’t going to build the wind farm, he won’t be able to pipe water on the condemned land that would have been under the power line to Dallas. So who stopped his aquifer pipeline deal, as that was the whole point of the wind farm? Somebody removed the icing on the dog turd.

johnb

To add on to what Hoser said, he apparently was having trouble running water lines from Sweetwater to the Dallas area as he would have to buy the land to place the piping on it’s own. But if he could place energy transmission lines from Sweetwater to Dallas, he could bury the water lines at the same time. It wasn’t about the wind power as much as it was the subsidized transmission lines and greater ability to use eminent domain to place his other pipelines in at the same time.

Larry in Texas

Sam Hall:
December 25, 2010 at 8:07 am
I know, Sam. Count your fingers AND feel for your wallet, too. I remember when he was trying to snooker our gullible Mayor (now former Mayor) of Dallas, Laura Miller, into buying West Texas ground water. He said he’d even build the pipeline! Of course, what he didn’t say was that we had to pay for it. Making the overall cost of the water almost three times as expensive as it would be for us to build a new reservoir.