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T. Boone Pickens King of Wind Power

T. Boone Pickens is mad that the USA is paying $700 billion a year for foreign oil. The Pickens Plan includes cutting the USA's demand for foreign oil by more than a third in less than ten years. You have probably already seen Pickens on television because he is paying for the biggest public policy ad campaign ever. Many big outfits are buying television, radio and newspaper ads to influence public policy. Pickens is building the world's largest wind farm in Pampa, Texas, northeast of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. He has spent $2 billion on the project, including a record purchase of nearly 700 wind turbines this year from General Electric. He expects to spend up to $10 billion on the project and to begin generating electricity in 2011. Pickens believes that wind energy can be used as a substitute for natural gas burned to generate electricity and that would free up more natural gas for use as a transportation fuel. Pickens' plan is to produce enough wind power within 10 years to divert 20% of the natural gas now used to fuel power plants for use in cars and trucks. Powering vehicles with compressed or liquefied natural gas, CNG or LNG, has been Pickens' pet project since the late 1980s. Distribution is a major problem. There are fewer than 800 natural gas filling stations around the USA so drivers cannot fill up wherever they go. Pickens wants Washington to encourage the move to natural-gas-powered vehicles by providing modest economic incentives for fuel retailers to invest in CNG pumps at their stations, for automakers to build CNG-powered cars and for individuals to convert their existing vehicles to CNG use.

Vermont Hamlets Fighting Wind

Farmers and other Vermonters are aggressively opposing wind projects, against the wishes of environmentalists, throught Vermont. They want to preserve their landscapes, particularly mountain views. They see wind farms as industrial projects that pollute the viewshead. Vermenter have founght other threats to their ridgeline views, including parkways, billboard ski resorts. So Vermonter are divided between supporting renewable energy and opposing commercialization and industrialization of their picturesque mountain landscapes. Vermont even passed a development review law to preserve ridgelines. A grouped called Ridge Protectors is actively fighting the proposed wind projects.

Governor Jim Douglas and the state Public Service Commission are reluctant to support wind projects. One company, Catamount Energy withdrew its application to build 19 wind turbines on Glebe Mountain in Londonderry and Windham. Another project by Newton, Mass-based UPC Wind Management LLC proposed 4 turbines at an abandoned military radare base on a mountaintop in East Haven, but was rejected by state regulators even though it was approved in Sheffield. The 26 UPC wind turbines would provide enough power for 15,000 to 20,000 homes.

The opposition to wind power seems like a luxury because Vermont is heavily dependent on two other emission free sources of electricity: Hydro-Quebec and the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. Hydro-Quebec provides about a 20 % of Vermont's power and Vermont Yankee provides 72%. Vermont has 11 wind turbines that have been operating in Searsburg since 1997.

Defense Authorization Act of 2006 Threatens Wind Power

June 2006 - - Powerful opposition to the Cape Wind Project proposed for Nantucket Sound has led to the possible demise of wind power nationwide. In addition to aggressive opposition from Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Senator John Warner (R-VA) inserted a last-minute amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, signed into law January 6, 2006 (PL 109-163), which required the Department of Defense to study and report on the effects of wind projects on military readiness. The study seeks to determine whether wind turbines can interfere with civilian or military radar. Since much of the U.S. is in military and civilian radar zones, this interim policy has a nationwide effect. The study has caused numerous wind developers to put a halt to their planned projects. In fact, this uncertainty has led to a de facto moratorium on the development of wind power in the U.S.

Senator Ted Stevens and Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) pursued legislation (Amendment to Coast Guard Authorization Act - HR 889).earlier in 2006 to block the Cape Wind Project by promoting legislation that would ban all wind turbines within 1.5 nautical miles of shipping and ferry lanes. The Cape Wind Project would be the first American offshore wind energy project. Its demise will probably kill future development of offshore wind in the U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, Jr. have also worked aggressively to kill the Cape Wind Project because they believe it threatens their view from the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. The wind turbines wiere planned to be built in Nantucket Sound about six miles offshore from the Kennedy property in Massachusetts. Evidently, the Kennedys do not want this alternative green power project in their backyard because they believe it will spoil their sailing and yachting in addition to spoling the ocean view. AAEA presented testimony in Boston to support the project at a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hearing. It appears that the Kennedys are willing to kill Cape Wind even if it leads to the demise of wind power development in the U.S.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued "proposed hazard" letters to project developers in This spring, facilities in the works in North Dakota, South Dakota, Illinois and Wisconsin stating that the projects must be halted pending the Defense Department study. The letters from the FAA have put a chilling effect on thousands of proposed wind project applications worth billions of dollars.