Pickens learns the hard truth: Drill-only GOP hates alternative energy

Lobbying for his plan to sharply ramp up renewables, the billionaire oilman has been brought face to face with the Big Energy Lie — the absurd notion that either John McCain or the Republicans in Congress actually believe in an “all of the above” energy policy.

In my interview with Pickens last month, he was able to offer only the blandest reply to a question pointing out that Dems back renewables but the GOP doesn’t: “So let me ask you, how do we, how do we get Republicans to support that kind of investment in renewables.” See his rambling answer here “Pickens in a pickle: He embraces progressive policies but not progressive politicians.

TP reports on a sadder but wiser (and far more cogent) Pickens at the National Press Club yesterday:

Q: You told the New York Times last month that you’d never vote for a Democrat. Are you finding that difficult in reaching out to Democrats then with your plan? […]

PICKENS: So I am having no problem working with the Democrats. Having a little problem working with the Republicans. They don’t like it because I want to do more than just drill. And they, somehow have gotten it, a lot of them have, that you can drill your way out of this. But you can’t do it. There’s not enough oil there to do it.

I guess he missed the GOP convention, see “Drill baby, drill”: The moment the Republic died.

You can see the video of Pickens here:

Assuming Republicans (including John McCain) continue blocking an intelligent energy policy — and blocking a vital climate policy, for that matter — this may well be our new mantra, the mantra of self-desctruction:

They don’t like it because I want to do more than just drill.

Still, you can’t really feel too sorry for the billionaire uber-conservative oil man who helped get Bush re-elected by funding of the Swift boat ads, who supports John McCain now, and who dumbed down his own message on drilling, presumably after pushback from his big oil buddies — see New Pickens ad: “I say drill, drill, drill.”

Again, if you back McCain and the GOP, then you must want energy policies that will leave this country forever crippled economically, forever vulnerable to the whims of the oil-producing nations like Russia, Venezuela and the Persian Gulf states. Until Pickens puts his money behind progressive politicians, then his quest for progressive policies will remain an impossible dream.

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17 Responses to Pickens learns the hard truth: Drill-only GOP hates alternative energy

  1. Bob Wallace says:

    Wonderful. Another crack in the solid Republican world.

    I don’t think it necessary for Pickens to donate to Democrats. He’s more valuable as highly regarded person speaking truth to the myth.

    Pickins speaks and an audience totally different than the one who reads blogs like this listen. You can’t buy access like that with millions and millions of dollars.

    What you’re watching here is a person evolving. Give him credit for his small steps and don’t damn him because he hasn’t become an overnight Avery Lovins.

  2. Bob Wallace says:

    It occurs to me that greens might learn something from the ‘born agains”.

    Lead a life of sin and degradation? Screw over everyone around you? Break every one of the Ten Commandments on a regular basis? OK, you’re scum.

    But darken the door of a church and declare that you’ve seen the evil of your ways and want to change and you’re welcomed with open arms.

    Sure, people keep a close eye on you to see if your conversion is real or a scam, but if you stray a bit from the fold you are offered support, not condemnation.

    They end up turning around a lot of bad actors that way.

    Greens might think about doing the same.

    (I could also explain this to you in terms of behavior mod if you’d like a non-religious explanation of why we shouldn’t punish Pickens for not being an instant tree-hugger. ;o)

  3. Tom says:

    There is one issue that T. Boone Pickens has to work around. The current electrical distribution system does not lend itself ti the development of wind power at the optimum sites and then transmitting that energy long distances to where it is needed. The losses incurred in AC transmission were not considered significant when you could build generation plants near to the point of consumption. A long haul electrical grid must be developed (probably using ultra-high voltage DC) to make wind and solar generation really work.

    I would also like to see Pickens addressing the Solar question. Large scale solar tower generation provides a 2nd benefit. There is a lot of excess heat in the solar tower approach which can be used to desalinate ocean water. Unless nobody has noticed, we are also running out of fresh water. Solar tower generating systems has the potential to address both needs.

  4. Bob Wallace says:

    Isn’t Pickens planning on building a HVDC line from his wind farms? Or at least pushing to get one built….

    Pickens has a lot of money and it’s tempting to want to get him to do all the fixin’.

    Personally I’m really happy that he’s doing some fixing. Much better than spending his money/energy/influence resisting.

  5. Earl Killian says:

    Tom, “Toilet-to-Tap” is being implemented in some places in the US (e.g. Orange County), and it is about one-fifth the energy to clean up sewage than to desalinate seawater. The California’s Department of Health Services says T2T is actually purer that highly coveted mountain spring water, though some find that hard to swallow.

  6. Ronald says:

    I’ve seen natural gas (methane gas) advertised to be used for cars. But they don’t have the same message that Pickens has that we should be reducing the use of natural gas used in electrical power generation. Can’t be to surprised. Natural gas companies want to sell to elec. power plants and sell for use in cars and trucks (plus, of course, building and industrial heating.) Don’t worry, we’ll just use up all of it so our kids and their kids won’t have worry about what they might use natural gas for.

  7. Jay says:

    The crisis in energy is the failure to act. The technology exits for zero-carbon energy from wind and solar. In fact several European countries are well above 50% renewable. We can do it too. NOW!

    In a plan I call “WINDfall for America” a 3 cents-per-kWh on all electricity would generate $10 billion-per-month (yes, PER MONTH!) which could easily pay for the infrastructure needed to convert all residential, commercial and transportation energy use to electricity.

    After that, the same 3 cents-per-kWh would generate about $900 billion per year to be used to offset costs for other peoples needs (SS, healthcare, etc).

    If you don’t believe me run the numbers available from the American Information Administration.

    BUT … also consider this. The 3 cents-per-kWh is an INVESTMENT by “We the People” NOT a DONATION! That means “We the People” reap the benefits of our investment, and “We the People” decide how the pay-off will be spent.

  8. Anon says:

    Before praising Tboone, look deeper into what he is really after.

  9. Rosa says:

    Hello? What’s progressive about industrializing rural and wild areas, most often against the wishes of the people who have to live with it, with hundreds of thousands of 400-ft-high wind turbines — with new heavy-duty roads and high-voltage transmission lines — to hopefully provide only a small fraction of our electricity?

    It’s not a fluke that Texas is the leader in wind power. It’s part and parcel of the “drill, baby, drill” mentality. Progressives should demand “save, baby, save” before supporting yet more building of supply. Especially since wind requires that the rest of the grid remain in place, i.e., no fewer coal or nuclear plants, and more natural gas plants to balance the intermittent and highly variable production from wind. What’s progressive about more degraded and fragmented wildlife habitat, altered wetlands, destruction of rural peace and quiet?

  10. Earl Killian says:

    Rosa, “save, baby, save” is a great refrain. Energy efficiency is clearly the most important thing we can do, and Climate Progress promotes it loudly. Where I differ from what you wrote is that I hope wind and solar can together help shut down coal power plants and get rid of gasoline. We have no choice but to make this work.

  11. Rosa says:

    I agree with your hope of shutting down coal plants and moving away from gasoline, but everything I’ve seen suggests that wind and solar won’t help much there.

    The energy in wind and sunlight is simply too diffuse to make it practical to convert on a large scale.

    And as an ecologist, one has to consider what the effect would be of taking for human use alone so much of the energy that supports life on this planet.

  12. Earl Killian says:

    Rosa, the Earth receives 3.85 YJ (yotta joules, yotta = 10^24) of sunlight each year. Current world energy use is around 500 EJ (exa joules, exa = 10^18) per year. Thus the sun provides 7700 times what we use. Sure, diverting 1 part in 7700 is likely to have some effect, but I think these numbers put it in context. More importantly, the impact is surely less than digging up Carboniferous remains and burning them.

    I am not sure what you mean by too diffuse. The Earth receives a gigawatt of sunlight every square kilometer during the day. That sunlight can be converted into electricity at reasonable efficiency.

    The U.S. could get all of its electricity from a small portion of the desert Southwest, if we had the HVDC lines to transmit it. For example, Ausra wrote,

    Based on the current technology, a CLFR with SM3 and storage would require 1.5 square miles for 177 MW, translating a national land requirement equal to 23,418 km^2 or a square with 153 km sides.

  13. MANK says:

    What do they say about pay back??????
    T Boone has come to know what 49% of us knew in 2000 and 2004.

  14. Earl Killian says:

    MANK, you mean 50.6% in 2000, and 48.3% in 2004. Those were the anti-Republican percentages. It is amazing how many people went over to the Dark Side from 2000 to 2004.

  15. shop says:

    The U.S. could get all of its electricity from a small portion of the desert Southwest, if we had the HVDC lines to transmit it. For example, Ausra wrote,

  16. utanma says:

    MANK, you mean 50.6% in 2000, and 48.3% in 2004. Those were the anti-Republican percentages. It is amazing how many people went over to the Dark Side from 2000 to 2004.