JIM LANDERS, The Dallas Morning News, April 18, 2008
WASHINGTON – Dallas energy magnate T. Boone Pickens said Thursday that he plans to execute contracts as early as next week for $1.5 billion in wind turbines across four Panhandle counties to generate power for North Texas.
Mr. Pickens said he also hopes to start acquisition in May for a right-of-way to transmit the power and large volumes of aquifer water to the Dallas area from ranch and farming land around Pampa.
Mesa Power LLC’s wind and water project would spread wind turbines over 200,000 acres and deliver enough water to the Dallas area to fill a pipeline 9 feet in diameter. Mesa plans to build an electricity transmission line for the project with its own funds, spokesman Jay Rosser said.
Pickens, speaking at Georgetown University, warned a group of about 75 students and faculty members that oil and natural gas prices would continue to increase as long as global demand exceeds supply. “The price will come up, and the price will eventually have to kill demand,” he said.
Pickens heads two investment funds that deal in oil and natural gas. Earnings were down in the first quarter 21 percent compared with last year, he said, because he had made a mistake in anticipating that oil prices would fall.
Pickens called Mesa’s power and water proposal in Roberts, Gray, Hemphill and Wheeler counties “the biggest project in the world,” with a combined cost of $13 billion. He said Mesa expects to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity by 2011 and 4,000 megawatts once the project is finished in 2014.
A $1.5 billion contract for wind turbines expected in May would cover the first 1,000 megawatts, he said. Mesa also hopes to sell 200,000 acre-feet of water to North Texas from the Ogallala Aquifer beneath the same four counties.