By Daniel Whitten
July 8 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens said today that he is delaying, not canceling, a $10 billion wind energy project in Texas.
The so-called Pampa project will be postponed until 2013 when Texas is expected to complete a $4.9 billion transmission line, Pickens said in Washington today. News reports yesterday that he was ending the project are wrong, he said.
"I didn't cancel it," said Pickens, 81, the chairman of Dallas-based BP Capital LLC. "Financing is tough right now so what is going to happen is it's going to be pushed back a year or two." Pickens spoke after a press conference to promote legislation intended to encourage the development of natural gas-powered vehicles.
Pickens last year began promoting a national energy plan that relies on domestically produced natural gas to cut U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Electricity generated by gas and coal could be replaced with wind and solar power once the grid is improved.
His Mesa Power LLP ordered 667 wind turbines from General Electric Co. last year for delivery, he said, starting in the first quarter of 2011. The turbines, which can produce up to 1,000 megawatts, may be installed "in Minnesota or someplace else," he said. Or he may just "put 'em in the garage," he said.
Pickens said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday that it is necessary to build a 21st century power grid to advance wind energy, which he said could happen quickly.
"I'm in the business and we are going to build the Pampa project," he said after the press conference today.