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August 19, 2008



Recently, oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens revealed his plan to reduce our dependency on foreign oil to CNBC. What has become known as the Pickens Plan is a revolutionary and innovative approach to managing our energy supply. In my opinion, each part of the plan can be achieved, but it will require a tremendous amount of support from citizens and government both.

The first part of the Pickens Plan calls for the building of numerous wind farms across the wind corridor of the American Midwest. Within ten years, nearly 20% of America’s electricity can be created by wind power. If the industry can become profitable without a government subsidy, we could easily have 50% of electricity generated by wind by 2038.

By generating electricity from wind, the U.S. will have more natural gas supply available. Currently, 20% of our electrical grid is fueled by natural gas. By replacing natural gas with wind, we can put natural gas to alternative uses, which is where the second part of the plan comes into play.

As weird as it may sound, natural gas can power automobiles the same way as gasoline. Many countries worldwide have natural gas vehicles. Now, Boone Pickens wants to bring this technology to the United States. Natural gas powered cars would cost between $1.25 and $1.50 per gallon to fuel, get similar fuel mileage as gasoline powered car, and can be filled using the natural gas line at your home.

Another minor, but important part of the Pickens Plan is having solar panels installed in the desert southwest. This could work to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels to produce electricity and increase the domestic energy supply.

I believe that the goal of the Pickens Plan (reducing/eliminating our dependence on foreign oil) can be increased with other methods of domestic energy production:

1. Drill, Drill Drill: In the near term, we are either going to get our oil domestically or abroad, so where would you prefer the oil be sourced? By drilling in the U.S. we can reduce the transfer of wealth abroad. Keep in mind that this transfer of wealth is much different than buying cheap products from abroad. Within six weeks of purchase, the oil is consumed. This leaves us with nothing (while other transfers of wealth have appreciating or depreciating assets) while our wealth is sent overseas.

2. Go nuclear: Nuclear power can further reduce our need for natural gas to create electricity. Also, contrary to popular belief, nuclear power is very clean. By replacing natural gas and coal with nuclear, our air would be cleaner and we would be less dependent on fossil fuels.

The bottom line is that in a time when energy is becoming increasingly expensive, we need to look at ALL domestic alternatives to foreign oil. Now is not the time to be picky about what types of energy we want. We need to work together to create a better economic environment for our children and with an increasing dependence on foreign oil, that goal will become harder to reach.

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