Wind Power, Renewable Energy andMesa Power were ready to start cranking out wind generated electric power

by Vertical Search Works

In May of 2008 the Texas billionaire and oilman T. Boone Pickens, through his energy company Mesa Power, placed an order for 667 1.5 megawatt wind turbines from General Electric in May, 2008; the $2 billion order was the largest of its kind ever made. We have discovered that he has put all his orders on hold.

Pickens’ plan was to have Mesa Power build a massive wind farm at his Pampa site in Northern Texas, Wind turbines against the sunset: Pickens’ wind farm — the plans, the obstacles the first phase of which was to have a 1,000 megawatt capacity, and start producing power by 2011. Ultimately, the Pampa project was to grow to a 4,000 megawatt capacity by 2014 with a total $10 billion investment. It has been Pickens’ stated intention to steer U.S. energy policy toward using natural gas as the primary fuel for motor transportation as a means of helping the nation to become more energy independent. In order to do this, Pickens’ plan calls for an expansion of renewable energy from wind to power 20 percent or more of the electric grid, and so liberate natural gas capacity normally used for electric generation.

But, to paraphrase Robert Browining, even the best laid plans of Texas oilmen can go off track. Two major pieces of the puzzle have failed to fall into place in order for Pickens’ plan to stay on course. Along with the economic downturn of 2008, a lot of funding sources have dried up, which has caused many critical infrastructure projects to be put on hold including large construction projects like the one proposed at Pampa.

Now looking into the future of wind power, even if Mesa Power were ready to start cranking out wind generated electric power from Pampa in 2011 there would be no place for it to go since a $4.9 billion project to serve the area with electric transmission lines is not expected to be complete until 2013.

Pickens insists that he is still going to have the Pampa project built, but that it has simply been delayed until 2013 when construction on the electric grid has been sufficiently completed to deliver the power generated. A bit of silver lining in all this is that 667 wind turbines are now available for sale to other projects that are ready to go, but would otherwise not be big enough to attract the attention of a large manufacturer like General Electric.

The turbines, which should start shipping in 2010, will be available to smaller projects that might otherwise have been squeezed out by the manufacturing capacity commanded by the immense Pampa project. With funding from the stimulus bill expected to start flowing in earnest during the last half of 2009, the timing could be just right to get some of these projects off the ground.

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