Legendary Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens is half right. We do need to harness this country's wind resources for a homegrown source of electricity, as he has been urging this summer in expensive television ads. And we do need to reduce the $700 billion we may soon be paying annually for imported oil. But part two of Pickens's plan--to move natural gas out of electricity production and use it to fuel cars instead--just doesn't make sense.
As I note in an article in Sunday’s Outlook section of the Washington Post, which we have posted on the Earth Policy Institute website, we should use wind-generated electricity directly to power cars.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel that emits climate-changing gases when burned. But wind is carbon-free, cheap, abundant and inexhaustible, and it is ours. No one can embargo the supply, the price does not change, and wind farms can be built in 12 months.
In contrast to wind-generated electricity, where costs are falling, the price of natural gas is on its way up. Reserves of natural gas, like those of oil, are shrinking. And ironically, as with oil, we import natural gas, sending money abroad for one-sixth of our supply.
Beyond that, there's the infrastructure question. How do we get the natural gas to the nation's service stations? These stations also would need to install pumps for natural gas, in addition to those for gasoline. ...
Read the full piece on the Earth Policy Institutewebsite.
For more information on Earth Policy Institute's goal of cutting carbon emissions 80 percent by 2020, see Chapters 11-13 in Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, available for free downloading. Also see Time for Plan B: Cutting Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2020.
Image credit:Nebraska State Historical Society, Wind Wagon, Nebraska Ship Sails On A Sea Of Grass