Oil man unveils wind-based power plan

Texas magnate says foreign oil is 'killing' the economy; invested $2 billion in plan to build world's largest wind farm.

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens Tuesday unveiled a new energy plan he says will decrease the United States' dependency on foreign oil by more than one-third and help shift American energy production toward renewable natural resources like wind power.

In a news conference outlining his proposal, Pickens said his impetus for the plan is the country's dangerous reliance on foreign oil. "Our dependence on imported oil is killing our economy. It is the single biggest problem facing America today," he said.

"The Pickens Plan" calls for investing in domestic renewable resources such as wind, and switching from oil to natural gas as a transportation fuel.

Pickens said that if the United States harnesses the so-called "wind corridor," stretching from the Canadian border to West Texas, energy from wind turbines built there could supply 20% or more of the nation's power. He suggested the project could be funded by private investors.

Power from the thousands of wind turbines that would line the corridor could be distributed throughout the country via electric power transmission lines and could fuel power plants in large population hubs, the oil baron said.

Fueling these plants with wind power would then free up the natural gas historically used to power them, and would mean that natural gas could be used to replace foreign oil as fuel for motor vehicles, he explained.

Using natural gas for transportation needs could replace one third of the United States' imported oil, and would save more than $230 billion a year, Pickens said.

His energy plan could be implemented within 10 years if both Congress and the White House treat the current energy situation as a "national emergency and take immediate action," he predicted.

Pickens, a lifelong Republican, says he is not advising either presidential candidate, but is prepared to work with whoever wins the White House.

Oil analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover said Pickens' plan could definitely reduce the country's dependency on foreign oil.

"The best thing about it is that it's a definite plan - it's not something that either party has pitted itself outrightly against. It therefore has a tremendous chance for success on Capitol Hill."

Analyst Fadel Gheit of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., added that such a plan "has been on the drawing board for years."

Pickens' company, Mesa Power, recently announced a $2 billion investment as the first step in a multi-billion dollar plan to build the world's largest wind farm in Pampa, Texas. To top of page

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