During a visit to Chicago, IL to drum up support for his so-called "Pickens Plan," businessman T. Boone
Pickens said America's
energy crisis is just as urgent as its current financial emergency and outlined
a solution that makes liberal use of natural gas and wind energy.
"I got into
this crusade because I think I'm the only person in America who understands the energy
issue and I wanted to share that with you," Pickens told an audience of more
than 500 people at Chicago's
Navy Pier Grand Ballroom. "In this country, we are all to blame for the predicament
we're in today."
his case, Pickens argued American use of imported oil has been rising
steadily for four decades largely because U.S. presidential administrations
have failed to create a plan to turn it around.
years, we've had no plan," he said. "We cannot go another 40 years without an
energy plan. The country will not survive (that)." He added if the U.S. continues
to do nothing to combat the problem, "we will be importing 75 percent of our oil and
it will be $300 a barrel."
said his solution to the problem is to take the natural gas that now provides
22 percent of the country's electrical energy and redirect it to the auto industry.
By doing so, the U.S.
could power virtually all of its automobiles without the need to buy oil from
"unfriendly countries" in the Middle East and Africa, he said. He added his plan would call for
the creation of a massive wind corridor, stretching from Texas to Canada, as a means of replenishing
the energy gap left by the auto industry's use of natural gas.
gas is cleaner, it's cheaper; it's abundant and it's ours," Pickens said of his
proposal to power cars with natural gas.
acknowledged wind and solar are intermittent sources of power, but said coal and nuclear plants could be used to fill in when the wind isn't
blowing and the sun isn't shining.
to a question about the potential need for electricity storage under his plan,
Pickens said "I'm not an expert on storage of electricity. It's not easy. But
those things are coming fast. I know that." He did not, however, describe what
form of energy storage he would propose.
closed his speech by cautioning audience members not to search for oil-company
conspiracies behind the rising price of gasoline. "Don't pay attention to any
of the stuff you hear about how you're being gouged by the oil companies," he
said. "We are all the cause of the oil prices."