T. Boone Pickens Talks About One of America's Greatest Renewable Resources

America's midwest corridor has been called the "Saudi Arabia of Wind," and energy legend T. Boone Pickens has invested heavily in wind energy.

In the short video below, Pickens tells Motley Fool contributor Jason Hall about the economics of wind energy, and how renewables fit with traditional energy from gas, nuclear, and coal. Check out the video, or the transcript below.

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Hall: Let's shift gears and talk a little bit about wind energy. You and I spoke earlier about how Berkshire Hathaway's MidAmerican Energy has invested a tremendous amount over the past couple of years, in adding to their wind.

You were really an early proponent of wind energy in the United States. Do you want to share a little bit more about your vision for wind, and how you see that continuing to play out?

Pickens: Wind will work. But it's priced off the margin, the power generated from wind turbines. The margin is natural gas. Natural gas at $6, you can do wind. But natural gas at $4, it's very, very hard to do. You're going to have to then subsidize to make it happen. If you want to do that, so be it.

The Germans have more coverage of wind turbines, and their country has more, than any other country. Why? Because it's a national security issue with them. We don't have that same issue. They subsidize to get wind power because they don't want to be so dependent on Russia for natural gas. They have a history with Russia that goes back to World War II. They just don't trust the Russians, so they pay, subsidize, and have wind energy.

Does it work? Of course it works. But it's expensive. Here, we do not have the same dynamics.

Hall: Because of the resources that we have.

Pickens: We've got the best wind in the world, from Sweetwater, Texas to the Canadian border. That corridor, you can put all the wind in there you want to put in there.

Hall: I've heard it referred to as the "Saudi Arabia of wind energy" before.

Pickens: Yes, that's exactly what you have. It's a huge resource, and you can't wear it out. It's there continually, it doesn't decline. But we also know the wind doesn't blow every day, so for power generation you have to baseload with either coal, natural gas, or nuclear.

All of that works, and we should use all of our resources in America.

Hall: Right. 

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2014, at 10:43 AM, martinbrasear wrote:

    Pickens doesn't own any turbines or wind farms, he defaulted on the GE note - do you check your "facts" Jason or do you just write whatever pops into your head ?

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2014, at 12:02 PM, speculawyer wrote:

    A combination of wind and solar really can provide most of our energy needs. We have the technology, all we lack is the will.

    Electric cars are the secret to making wind & solar really usefull . . . they make it possible to use those wind turbines and solar panels to replace oil.

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2014, at 12:40 PM, TMFVelvetHammer wrote:

    >>Pickens doesn't own any turbines or wind farms...<<<

    martinbrasear,

    I didn't write that he did or that he does.

    The closest this article comes to your allegation is at the top, where I wrote, "...Boone Pickens has invested heavily in wind energy."

    Them's the facts, sir.

    Jason Hall

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2014, at 7:02 PM, martinbrasear wrote:

    if "them's the facts" then state the facts that back up "Boone Pickens has invested heavily in wind energy", because them's NOT the facts, sir - it was a complete and total failure

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2014, at 7:30 PM, TMFVelvetHammer wrote:

    martinbrasear,

    From Google's definition of "invest":

    "expend money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial schemes, shares, or property, or by using it to develop a commercial venture."

    "I've lost my ass on wind energy." -- T. Boone Pickens

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jpfNbfhfX4

    Let's break down the sentence in the article:

    It says Pickens has invested heavily in wind energy.

    It doesn't say Pickens is >>currently invested<< in wind energy, or that Pickens >>has investments<< in wind energy. Has invested.

    This refers to the undeniable evidence that Pickens has "expended money with the expectation of achieving a profit or material result by putting it into financial schemes, shares, or property, or by using it to develop a commercial venture", specifically land and equipment to generate wind energy."

  • Report this Comment On June 24, 2014, at 10:26 PM, coltdriver wrote:

    Jason: There is a LOT of intel not encompassed by any of T. Boone's comments on "his" wind power "investments.

    Item one: he, personally did not invest very much of his own money. He had gathered a rather large group of investors, and then, when his plan failed, walked off and left THEM holding the bag. He lost a lot OF OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY, rather than his own.

    Item two: several years back, T. Boone's grand scheme at the time was getting the corner on the Ogalala Auquifer rescources, and to transport the water to the Texas Metroplex (Dallas/Ft Worth, to those not familiar. When the Texas Natural Resource Commission got enough legal complaints about the project, they nixed T.Boone's plans for a right-of-way to build the pipeline. When T. Boone jumped on the Wind bandwagon, it was with the intention of not only building the biggest wind farm in the U.S. (1500 G.E. 1.5mw turbines, just to start), his intentions were to also build the transmission lines out of the Pan Handle to the Customer: the Metroplex. The Texas Public Utility Commission, not being as blind as T.Boone had supposed, saw through this scheme (as, once One has a right of way to build a power line, One may also build a water line, as well), nixed the transmission line. When this happened, T.Boone lost interest in the Wind project. And, defaulted on his contract with G.E. for the 1500 turbines.

  • Report this Comment On June 26, 2014, at 9:13 PM, burgermcshame wrote:

    poor Jason he knows not what he does, T Boob put him on his plane, flew him to his ranch, wined him and dined him while pumping him full of T Boob crap & now Jason is just spewing T Boob crap all over us

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