NPR logo T. Boone Pickens Wind Farm Plan Stalls Out

T. Boone Pickens Wind Farm Plan Stalls Out

Remember T. Boone Pickens' plan to break the nation's dependence on foreign oil?

Last year, Pickens, the well-known Texas-based financier, was sometimes as omnipresent on television as the presidential candidates with his TV ad for what became known as the Pickens Plan, a mix of wind power and natural gas meant to replace the nation's reliance on oil.

Well, Pickens' plan has been coming apart at the seams. First, the price of oil dropped as the recession sunk its teeth into the economy, making Pickens' proposal seem less urgent. Now, it turns out that Pickens has learned he can't put hundreds of wind turbines in Texas as planned due to technical problems.

The Associated Press reports the following:

HOUSTON (AP) - Plans for the world's largest wind farm in the Texas panhandle have been scrapped, energy baron T. Boone Pickens said Tuesday, and he's looking for a home for 687 giant wind turbines.

Pickens has already ordered the turbines, which can stand 400 feet tall - taller than most 30-story buildings.

"When I start receiving those turbines, I've got to ... like I said, my garage won't hold them," the legendary Texas oilman said. "They've got to go someplace."

Pickens' company Mesa Power ordered the turbines from General Electric Co. - a $2 billion investment - a little more than a year ago. Pickens said he has leases on about 200,000 acres in Texas that were planned for the project, and he might place some of the turbines there, but he's also looking for smaller wind projects to participate in. He said he's looking at potential sites in the Midwest and Canada.

In Texas, the problem lies in getting power from the proposed site in the panhandle to a distribution system, Pickens said in an interview with The Associated Press in New York. He'd hoped to build his own transmission lines but he said there were technical problems.