JENNIFER YOUSFI, Money Morning on Seeking Alpha, May 16, 2008
T. Boone Pickens made his fortune in oil. But now the Dallas oilman and famed former corporate raider is betting $2 billion that he can have the same success with a new source of energy – wind.
Pickens’ Mesa Power LLP yesterday (05/14/08) unveiled the first phase of an eventual $10 billion alternative energy project that has the potential to become the world’s largest wind farm.
“You find an oilfield, it peaks and starts declining, and you’ve got to find another one to replace it,” says Pickens. “It can drive you crazy. With wind, there’s no decline curve.”
Mesa Power will purchase 667 wind turbines from General Electric Co. Each turbine can produce 1.5 megawatts of electricity. The first phase of the project will produce 1,000 megawatts, enough energy to power 300,000 homes. GE will begin delivering the turbines in 2010, and current plans call for the project to start producing power in 2011.
“T. Boone Pickens’ commitment underscores the ability of wind technology to help meet the country’s need for diverse sources of energy,” said Jeffrey R. Immelt, GE’s chairman and CEO. “As America’s demand for energy escalates, it is clear that wind can and will play a bigger part in meeting that need. We’re excited to partner with an energy visionary like T. Boone Pickens to bring our wind technology to the marketplace.”
Ultimately, Mesa Power plans to have enough turbines to produce 4,000 megawatts of energy, the overall project is expected to cost $10 billion and be completed in 2014.
Mesa Power has leased sparsely populated land in the Texas panhandle, where the wind often blows during daylight hours when energy needs are highest. Texas’ Competitive Renewable Energy Zones [CREZ] transmission lines will deliver what Pickens hopes will be “cost effective and reliable electricity generated by renewable energy power projects.”
“We have had a great response to this project,” Pickens said. “We are making Pampa the wind capital of the world. It’s clear that landowners and local officials understand the economic benefits that this renewable energy can bring not only to landowners who are involved with the project, but also in revitalizing an area that has struggled in recent years.”