Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Windbag's Failed Wind Project

I caught Boone Pickens on Bloomberg television last week extolling the praises of natural gas. But, oddly, when asked, he downplayed windpower, explaining that it was priced at the margin and, as such, would be unusable and unprofitable until natural gas rises to $6/tcf.

Is this the same Boone Pickens who was gloating over his huge wind project from Texas to the Montana, or thereabouts, only a few years ago? How he had contracted for large windfarms of tall turbines to produce cheap electricity?

I believe it is.

It's understandable that Pickens would shelve a project which is no longer economically feasible. But what I find troubling is how sure Pickens was at the time that his wind project was a surefire success. That alternative energy was the way to go. He didn't suggest how tenuous the project's economics apparently were.

Now, with the Marcellus shale deposit and fracking having added incredible capacity to America's natural gas supply, the price of that commodity won't be rising anytime soon. And, with it, according to Pickens, wind power won't be economically competitive for, well, decades.

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