T. Boone spoke today at the Great Plains Energy Expo and Showcase in Bismark, North Dakota. Find all the details here
Also, be sure to check out ND Senator Byron Dorgan's press release
on the event.
Following is a piece by T. Boone discussing North Dakota's wind potential & the "Expo."
We need to shape our energy future
By T. Boone Pickens
The annual Great Plains Energy Expo and Showcase, which will be held this week at the Bismarck Civic Center, might become the model for similar events throughout the Midwest.
According to the United States Department of Energy, the second most available source of alternative energy in North Dakota (behind hydro) is wind. Hydroelectric production is near its capacity, wind energy has barely begun to produce what is available at the northern end of the American wind corridor, which stretches from Texas to the Canadian border.
A year ago, Sen. Byron Dorgan published the outlines of his forward-thinking energy plan. The 2007 Energy Expo was an important part of Sen. Dorgan's plan to bring together producers and consumers of energy, investors in energy, and governmental officials responsible for energy planning.
I am totally in favor of Sen. Dorgan's approach: Use any resource, technique or system which is American. His plan called for increasing oil and gas drilling in the western portion of North Dakota, not as a stand-alone effort, but as part of the larger "Energy Corridor" that encompasses the entire region.
I have been promoting the development of wind to produce electricity and the switch to natural gas as a principal transportation fuel. I have codified this effort in The Pickens Plan. Its goal to replace up to 30 percent of the oil we import with wind and natural gas.
Even though oil has declined temporarily declined, in my view to about $70 per barrel, we are still shipping over $350 billion per year to our overseas providers of oil. Sen. Dorgan properly points out that moving to domestic energy production means domestic jobs not high rises in Dubai.
The price of oil doesn't impact the amount of oil we are importing. We currently import nearly 70 percent of the oil we use. That means oil ministers in distant countries have the capacity to control our economy, our foreign policy and our national security.
The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that a full-scale effort to build out wind farms all through the wind corridor would provide nearly 140,000 new jobs in the first year and up to 3.5 million jobs over ten years. Most of these jobs would be in small- and medium-sized cities like those right here in North Dakota cities that are having a tough time keeping their younger citizens from leaving to find jobs somewhere else.
Of course we can't power cars, buses or trucks with wind power. We need to use natural gas as a bridge fuel to get us away from imported oil while we await the development of the next generation of transportation fuels batteries and fuel cells seem most likely right now.
We can't wait until 2030 to have new transportation fuels come online. We have to take steps immediately to begin to reduce the amount of oil we import. With recovery techniques that were not available even a decade ago, North Dakota, together with the rest of the U.S., has enough natural gas reserves to last over 100 years.
Wind is clean, abundant and it's ours. Natural gas is cheap, abundant, immediately available and it, too, is ours.
Sen. Dorgan deserves a great deal of credit for being a leader in the United States Senate for a new energy future for America.
(T. Boone Pickens is chairman of BP Capital, and will speak in Bismarck today at 1:30 p.m. during the Great Plains Energy Expo.)