The Pickens Plan is a good effort at forwarding the national debate on energy. But the Brick Oven Plan is much better.
Windpower is flawed in that when the wind stops blowing, the power stops flowing. With hydroelectric power, if the river periodically stops flowing, its not a big deal because the energy is stored behind the dam, and can be released as necessary. But there is no current method to ‘store’ the amounts of electricity that is being proposed. Battery technology is mature technology, and advances on the scale that would be necessary are unlikely.
Pickens is probably counting on averaging out wind over the wind belt, to reduce the conventional power plant backup requirement, which probably stands at 90% today. I can’t see it being reduced below 67% though.
The Pickens Plan does not address transportation fuel, only electrical power to cities.
The Brick Oven Plan is better because:
1. Nuclear power plants do not require backup conventional power stations.
2. The electrification of our nation’s railways divorces a significant percentage of transportation needs from liquid fuels.
3. Taking Iran’s oil will nearly triple our proven reserves anyway.
We just need a government with the stones to say yes to the Brick Oven Plan. Even if only to items #1 and #2. The Pickens Plan, while seemingly well-intentioned, will not address our problems.
I hope Pickens’ intention is not to get new government subsidies for an investment he has already made, to increase his rate of return. I hope his purpose is patriotism.