After a person learns a certain amount, they tend to think they know enough to have the answers. It is rare and beautiful thing when you come across someone that knows that we really don't know anything and the only thing that is certain is it is more important to ask the right questions than to think you have the answer. Rest assured, if you are sure you know the answer, you are wrong.
The Pickens Plan sounds great, and I applaud the fact that he is doing something. However, I think that if you start asking questions about what you hear there is much to be desired.
What will happen if we replace >20% of our power generation capabilites with a source that we cannot control? (A gas turbine can be turned on when needed in a relatively short period of time. If the wind isn't blowing, 20% of the country is without power.)
What will the impact of using natural gas in a machine that has an average efficency of 20% (and a maximum of around 40%...automobiles) instead of a machine that averages 40% (gas turbine for electricity generation) and has already acheived 60% efficiency (combined cycle gas turbines) and has not yet reached its limit? (This seems to be contrary to the generally accepted practice of "increasing" efficiency and using resources more wisely.)
How will home utility prices be affected by replacing a cheaper source of power (natural gas) with a more expensive one (wind)? Wind is free, (technically it isn't because land owners have "wind rights" and must be paid for them) but the turbines and service contracts are not.
Why will it take so long for nuclear power to be a player? The technology is 50+ years old and relies on technology that exists today and materials that are readily available. (If you discount nuclear power because it is an unsafe, not well understood technology, consider yourself uneducated because that is not true.)
If you think the solution to the energy crisis is to use a more expensive alternative when a cheaper fuel is available (regardless of the environmental impact) you are either rich or have your head in the clouds.
If you think there is no energy crisis and this is all a government/corporate scheme to get our money, you are under-educated and should rememdy that.
The only way we will shift from fossil fuels (foreign or domestic) is to have a cheaper, as reliable, as available energy source. The way to get there is to penalize people that use energy irresponsibly (in the form of a luxury/wasted resource tax) and use the money to finance whatever improvements are necessary to make other solutions cheaper, as reliable, and as available as fossil fuels.
For example, any retailer that has an open air refrigerator should have to pay a wasted resource tax for cooling their merchandise/the air while using a heating system to keep the air inside the store warm. All that revenue can go to solar engineers to increase efficiency/reduce manufacturing costs of panels.
Any wireless device (that is not for medical use) should have a luxury tax. All the revenue generated can be given to hydrogen fuel research to replace gasoline as automobile fuel. (The technology exists today to make hydrogen for automobiles at $2/gallon and internal combustion engines can operate on hydrogen. The problem is there is not a good way to store hydrogen. That problem could more than likely be solved if funding were available. I am fully aware of the hydrogen debate but don't care. Gasoline engines weren't that great when they were put into use. Improvements are made over time after a product is introduced.)
I don't claim to know everything (or anything). I do know that being rich doesn't make you smart and being smart doesn't mean people will listen to you.
T. Boone has a plan, a lot of money, and should be challenged, not blindly followed. What good will any of this do us if his plan is flawed?