Othman on Pickens, Horseflesh, and Hypocrisy

Michael Giberson

Abe Othman at Constructive Economics has been reading Boone Pickens:

T. Boone Pickens, from his autobiography The Luckiest Guy in the World:

I believe the greatest opportunity lies in a free marketplace. There are powerful forces afoot trying to restrict that freedom in the interests of the vested and already wealthy.

T. Boone Pickens, in congressional testimony on a bill to prevent the slaughter of horses for food:

The whole thing, it’s a boondoggle on the American people…People that are for the slaughter should be forced to go down on that kill floor…The brutal slaughter of horses for consumption by wealthy diners in Europe and Japan cuts against our moral and cultural fiber — it’s just plain un-American.

Othman remarks, “Remember, if they can come after the horse slaughterers, they can come after the hedge funds.”

(Othman apparently remains under the the influence of Al Roth’s work on repugnance and markets – not that there is anything wrong with that.)

Pickens new plan: Not to build the world’s largest wind power farm

Michael Giberson

[UPDATE: Pickens now says he is delaying, not dropping plan to build his wind farm.]

Boone Pickens is dropping his plan to build a huge, 4,000 MW wind power farm in the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle.  Among the reasons: his plan to build his own transmission line fell through, the transmission lines planned under the state’s CREZ process won’t go quite the way he wants, the credit crunch has impeded financing, and low natural gas prices have dropped electric power prices in the Texas markets Pickens planned to sell into.

From the Dallas Morning News (link above):

Shortly after announcing the plan, Pickens ran into roadblocks. Natural gas prices took a dive, bringing electricity prices down with them, and making it difficult to finance a new wind farm.

“You had them standing in line to finance you when natural gas was $9” per million British thermal units, he said. “Natural gas at $4 doesn’t have any people trying to finance you.”

But, he said, he’s lined up financing.

He couldn’t easily line up a transmission line.

He still has a substantial number of turbines on order from General Electric, so now his company is looking around for new homes for the turbines. They may end up in a dramatically scaled down wind farm in the area originally planned (he has contracts to develop wind power on about 200,000 acres in the area), or on other sites in Texas or points north.

See also similar reports in the New York Times Green Inc., Washington Post, and the Associated Press.

ASIDE ADDED: Hey Boone, if you’re feeling charitable, or just have more turbines showing up than you can put to good use, I know of a university-based wind power research project to be built in the Texas Panhandle that might be able to use a few good turbines.  Call me.