Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pickens plan or Michigan Energy Summit?

Pickens is a windbag or a visionary?

BY Terry Bankert, (gmf) 7/31/08

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens continues to be a pitch man for wind and natural gas as fuel for US energy needs.[1]...HE... acknowledged Wednesday that a plan he's pushing to use more wind power and natural gas to replace foreign oil is expensive, but said it's still cheaper than importing fuel.[2] Why is this guy getting all the attention? He is just out to make a buck. Our political leadership...well...should be leading. Governor Grandholm we have an emergency! We need an emergency energy policy summit to cause real change in policy, funding and action on alternative energy.[trb]Posted first to:

WHO IS T. BOONE PICKENS AND WHY DO I CARE? My elected leadership should be in the spotlight on energy reform. The techiees must come together with the industry leadership and the political people led by the Michigan Governors office.[trb]

Do we really want to be led by this guy.[trb]

Thomas Boone Pickens, Jr. (born )May 22, 1928) is an American businessman who chairs the hedge fund BP Capital Management. He was a well-known takeover operator during the 1980s. With an estimated current net worth of about $3 billion, he is ranked by Forbes as the 117th-richest person in America and ranked 369th in the world. Pickens has given more than $700 million away to charity. [7]Before reaching the age of 40, Pickens led Mesa's first big acquisition, the Hugoton Production Company, which was 30 times the size of Mesa. [7]

By 1981, Mesa had grown into one of the largest independent oil companies in the world, and Pickens shifted his focus to acquiring other oil and gas companies. He spent much of the decade targeting undervalued companies, making solicited and unsolicited buyout bids and other merger and acquisition activity. This made Pickens a celebrity during the 'deal-making' 80s. His most publicized deals included attempted buyouts of Cities Service, Gulf Oil, Phillips Petroleum, and Unocal. [7]During this period, Mesa did complete successful acquisitions of Pioneer Petroleum and the mid-continent assets of Tenneco.[7]

These as well as other deals placed Pickens at the center of controversy during the 80s. His celebrity rose so quickly after the Gulf Oil takeover bid that he appeared on the cover of Time magazine and briefly considered running for president in the 1988 elections.[citation needed] During this period, he was often characterized as a corporate raider and greenmailer, as many of his deals were not completed though Pickens and the shareholders he represented received substantial profits through the eventual sale of their stock. [7]

His later takeover targets included Newmont Mining, a New York-based firm, Diamond Shamrock, and Koito Mfg., Ltd., a Japanese auto-parts manufacturer, making substantial gains in the process. He was also involved in the creation of the United Shareholders Association (USA), which from 1986 - 1993 attempted to influence the governance of several large companies. After nearly two years of periodic hearing and debate, in July 1998 the Securities and Exchange Commission voted 4-1 to approve a one-share, one-vote rule, a primary USA objective.[7]

PICKENS WILL MAKE MORE MONEY OFF WIND THAN ALL THE TITS ON ALL THE MILKERS ON THE PLANETCritics say Pickens stands to directly benefit from wind generation. He has successfully lobbied the Texas legislature to invest heavily in wind technology. Pickens and several business partners are spending $12 billion to build the world's largest wind farm in Texas. He also sits on the board of the nation's largest natural gas company, Clean Energy Fuels Corp. [5]However, Pickens said he already has plenty of money and is pushing this plan for the good of the country. "The greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind is sending billions of our dollars overseas."[5]

ITS HIS MONEY ITS HIS PLAN ...BUT...its my country, my state and I want my elected leadership charting my future.[trb]Pickens planned to start his $58 million "Pickens Plan" today in Topeka. The idea is to use television ads and town hall meetings across the Great Plains to get his word out.[1]Industrial-scale wind energy is widely promoted as a clean and sustainable source of energy. It brings, however, many adverse impacts of its own which are often ignored or even denied. Of most immediate concern for communities targeted for wind power facilities are their huge size, unavoidable noise, and strobe lights day and night, with the consequent loss of amenity and, in many cases, health. [3]

PICKENS HE HOPES YOU WILL LEND HIM YOUR EAR ,THEN HE WILL TAKE YOUR MONEYHe tells anyone who will listen that the US imports 70% of its oil today compared to 24% in 1970. He says the annual cost of importing oil is $700 billion.[1]HE IS A SOCIAL NETWORKING KIND OF GUYFor starters, there’s a Facebook page where people can "become a fan" of Mr. Pickens (pictured above) and his exhortation to make energy independence a focus of national debate. There’s also a MySpace page and a YouTube channel. And for good measure, there’s also a Twitter feed for "pickensplan."[6]

Networked out yet? There’s more. The Pickens Plan is setting up its own dedicated social network powered by Ning. That network includes message boards for supporters and the ability to form local groups.[6]

Though it remains to be seen whether Mr. Pickens’s approach will attract droves of supporters, his initial efforts to attract attention on the Web are finding success. Earlier this morning, the Pickens Plan accounted for the top three "Hot Trends" search terms on Google. (No. 1: "" No. 2: "pickens plan." No. 3: "t boone pickens.")[6]


Pickens said there are about 85 million barrels of oil produced daily throughout the world and global demand is 86 million barrels. The U.S., with 4 percent of the world's population, uses about 25 percent of the oil, he said.[2]Summed up, Pickens wants to:-- Boost wind production -- which is environmentally friendly (and especially attractive as an investment in rural Kansas).-- Boost use of natural gas -- ditto on the environment.-- Slash oil consumption -- and our outlays for foreign oil.[4]


Kansas is in a corridor from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota that Pickens says could produce 20% of the nation's electricity by wind. The cost to achieve it is $1 trillion to build the turbines plus $200 billion for transmission lines.[1]Pickens' plan relies heavily on wind generation in the Midwest and solar generation in the Southwest.

He would replace gasoline with natural gas and suggest the country start with government fleets. "Within two years, people will start switching over.

It will be a patriotic thing. This will be our (America's) fuel." So far, he has launched a social networking Web site meant to educate and sign up volunteers. He has also spent time and money on national commercials and will start a series of town hall meetings Wednesday, the first taking place in Kansas. [5]

SINCE HE OWNS ALL THE NATURAL GAS ON THE PLANET, WILL THIS BENEFIT HIM?His plan calls for erecting wind turbines in the Midwest to generate electricity, replacing the 22% of US power produced from natural gas. The freed-up natural gas then could be used to power vehicles now reliant on gasoline and diesel.[1]

STEPING OUT WITH HIS BABEKansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius was scheduled to introduce Pickens at the inaugural town hall meeting. She is a longtime advocate of alternatives energy sources.[1]Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a longtime advocate of alternative energy sources, introduced Pickens. In January, she formed a group to promote wind power in a state where 73 percent of the electricity generated comes from coal-fired plants.[2]

Sebelius wants wind power to account for 10 percent of the state's 10,000 megawatts of generating capacity in 2010 and 20 percent by 2020. She said the 10 percent goal will be met by year's end, with eight wind farms generating 1,013.4 megawatts.[2]

The governor also is locked in a legal and political dispute with Sunflower Electric Power Corp. over plans for two coal-fired power plants in Finney County. In October, her administration denied an air-quality permit to Sunflower, based on the plants' potential carbon dioxide emissions. Four legal challenges are pending.[2]

Pickens' plan has its critics, including Eric Rosenbloom, an East Hardwick, Vt., science editor who runs the Web site National Wind Watch.[2]

Rosenbloom said with wind power, additional power plants are needed to offset the times when the wind isn't as strong. He said the best type of plant to balance wind is natural gas.[2]"It would require increasing natural gas on the grid rather than freeing it up," Rosenbloom said. "It's not going to free up natural gas for transportation. There is no way."[2]

...the claims of their benefit of reducing pollution or greenhouse gases appear to be greatly exaggerated. Despite decades of experience and substantial installations in Denmark, Germany, and Spain, the giant turbines have not been shown to reduce the use of other fuels on the electric grid -- such as coal and nuclear -- let alone gasoline for transport and oil for heating. For this reason, their ability to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming or pollutants that cause acid rain and health problems such as asthma is doubtful, despite their size and extent. [3]

But Pickens said he takes such criticism in stride.[2]

"I've got a plan. We can fine-tune it," he said.[2]Pickens does have a point when he says it's now time for Americans to put pressure on the next president and Congress to act sanely on energy matters.[4]

I will start with my governor.[trb]




[1]7 KLTV
[2]Houston Chronicle
[3]National Wind Watch
[4]Midwest Voices
[5]News 10
[6]The Wall Street Journal
[8]T. Boone Pickens Face Book
[trb]Comments of Terry Bankert to include unattributed CAP headlines


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Great News for Flint MI USA

The city of Flint is preparing to get charged. That's because plans are under way for Flint to be the production home of the engine for the Chevy Volt. [1]

The Chevy Volt is a one-of-a-kind plug-in electric-gas hybrid car GM unveiled at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show[2]The Volt is a battery-powered vehicle that is designed to travel about 40 miles. After that, the car would switch to an internal combustion engine[3]

The four-cylinder engine built at the plant would also go into the new Chevy Cruze, a new, smaller vehicle that will be produced by General Motors in the future. [3]Posted originally to:

VOLT A COMBINED GAS AND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMThe Volt, hailed for its potential to reduce the world's reliance on fossil fuels, would run entirely on a battery charge for about 40 miles and use a gasoline engine -- apparently to be built in Flint -- to keep the vehicle powered for longer trips.[4]

Alternative energy is a term used for an energy source that is an alternative to using fossil fuels./wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_neededGenerally, it indicates energies that are non-traditional and have low environmental impact. The term alternative is used to contrast with /wiki/Fossil_fuelsFOSSIL FUELS according to some sources. By most definitions alternative energy doesn't harm the environment, a distinction which separates it from/wiki/Renewable_energyRENEWABLE ENERGY Which may or may not have significant environmental impact.Due to a steadily rising gas price in 2008 with the US national average price per gallon of regular unleaded gas above $4.00 there has been a steady movement towards developing higher fuel efficiency and more alternative energy vehicles for consumers. In response, many smaller companies have rapidly increased research and development into radically different ways of powering consumer vehicles. While Hybrid Vehicles (such as Toyota's Prius) and Electric Vehicles (such as the Tesla Roadster) are commercially available, other technologies such as fuel cells, flywheels, ultra capacitors and a Water-Powered car are starting to emerge as viable options.[6]

Great news for Flint, but remember historically when something big happens from GM there is a downside, namely additional plant closings. I would guess this is the end of Metal Fab, the rest of the Buick site ,Spo is rumored to be sold. It speaks volumes about how they feel about this town when the only reason new work is coming here is arm twisting in contract negotiations[ comment By GRANTBANK at 5]


Paperwork has been filed by General Motors Corp. to build a new facility in the Flint area. [1]According to the plan, the 530,000-square-foot building will be in an area between Flint Truck Assembly and Engine South.[1]Some are celebrating the addition of a more fuel-efficient component to the area's manufacturing base.[5]"It strengthens Flint's competitive position long term," said Flint City Councilman Ehren Gonzales, who sits on the city's brownfield redevelopment board and heard GM officials' presentation on the plant Friday.[5]

FLINT IS IN NOT POSITION TO SAY ANYTHING BUT YES TO THE GM INITIATIVE, DISREGARD OR HOUND OUT OF OFFICE ANY NAY SAYERSIn the paperwork, it is revealed GM is planning to make a $326 million investment into the Flint community.[1]"This is great," said Councilman Scott Kincaid, who works for the UAW. "There's no question there will be a big market for the engine."[5]The area along Van Slyke Road in Flint is where General Motors is looking to put the brand-new production line.[1]Flint Mayor Don Williamson previously said the plant will be built on Van Slyke Road, adjacent to Flint Engine South and Flint Truck Assembly.[2]"I think this shows that things are looking very well for us to compete with the rest of the U.S.," Williamson said. [5]Rough estimates by TV5 put the number of GM employees currently in the Flint area at 10,000.That number is compared to the 70,000-80,000 during the automotive boom from the 1950s through the early 1970s. [2]Genesee Regional chamber of Commerce CEO Tim Herman said while the plant may only retain, not create, jobs, it could lead other businesses to the Flint area.[2]

VOLT OUR FUTURE OR IS IT ANOTHER PIPE DREAM.Paperwork filed with the city says a new facility will be home for engines in new GM passenger cars, including the battery-powered Volt.[1]The Volt switches to engine power if driven for more than 40 miles. It was in June when GM CEO Rick Wagoner announced the production of a 1.4-liter engine in the Flint area.[1]The new facility will keep about 300 jobs in the Flint area now that the 3800 line at Flint North is ending.[1]

FLINT NEEDS TO COMPETE AGGRESSIVELY TO STAY IN THIS LINE UPGM is in the middle of transforming its lineup from mostly large trucks and SUVs to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.[1]Already the automaker announced it was cutting back truck production and focusing on smaller cars.[1]With the addition of the small engine plant in Mid-Michigan, it looks as if Flint maybe helping the automaker lead the way.[1]TV5 spoke with city councilmember Jim Ananich, and he told us the council looked at the plans submitted to the city Monday night by GM.[2]The engine built here "will be used in the proposed battery operated Chevy Volt and other GM passenger vehicles," according to an application asking Flint to designate the proposed plant location a brownfield redevelopment site, cutting GM's state tax bill. [5]

FLINT CITIZENS SHOULD CONSIDER ATTENDING THIS MEETING!Next up is a public meeting by Flint City Council Aug. 25 to decide on grants and tax breaks for the automaker.[1]The Flint City Council will host a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 25 to decide whether to grant General Motors a brownfield designation for the proposed site for a small engine plant -- which could produce engines for the Chevrolet Volt as well as for other passenger cars. GM would receive a break on its Michigan Business Tax if the designation is approved.[4]The location GM wants to build on is on a brownsfield designated property, which means it is contaminated land. [2]This development has some irony to it, as it was General Motors that originally contaminated the site. [2]The hearing is scheduled for Aug. 25, and the council will vote on the plans shortly afterward. If all goes according to plan, the plant could be open by 2010.[2]A spokesperson for GM would not comment on specifics, but said the automaker is filing the necessary paperwork and it all depends on agreements by GM, federal, state and local authorities.[1]City leaders said the facility will not only bring construction jobs to town, but could also contribute about $6 million in property taxes per year.[2]Flint resident Nayyirah Shariff said while it's good news for the city, she can't forget how GM pushed the sport utility vehicle gasoline hogs during the 1990s.[5]"It's almost like is this a case of too little, too late, with gas now at $4 per gallon," Shariff said. "It's part of the new green economy. There's still a lot of work to do with that."[5]

(GM Spokesperson)...Wagoner has said preliminary plans are to produce the Volt itself at GM's Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, about 60 miles away.[5]If all is approved production is expected to start in 2010 [1]Here's hoping that GM, the City and Council do something to promote alternative/'sustainable' remediation strategies for the brownfield and factory themselves.[Comment by indscpurbnsm at 5]

Posted byTerry Bankert07/30/08
[1]ABC WJRT TV 12 Flint MI

[2]WNEM TV 5


[4]The Grand Rapids Press

[5]The Flint Journal[trb]Comments by Terry Bankert including unattributed CAP headlines[6]Wikipedia

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