A commercial caught my attention last night that I had some time today to investigate. It started out as a typical political ad about how we are too dependent on foreign oil and that we need to do something about it, blah, blah, blah. Then, a curious thing happened. The ad started talking about wind farms and solar. Not in the typical political ad style – the “We need to invest more in renewable energy to keep American safe” crap, but the “I actually have a plan and am gonna tell you what it is” type. As the ad went on, I was waiting for the punchline, “I’m T. Boone Pickens, (party name) candidate for (political office) and I approve this message.” It didn’t come. Intriguing. What’s that all about?

Well, it looks like Mr. T Boone Pickens is a wealthy Texas oil man who is starting his own campaign to reduce the amount of oil we import. In essence, his plan calls for the installation of wind turbine fields in the center of the US to generate clean electrity. With all of the wind-created electricity in the grid, we can then divert the Natural Gas used to make electricity into vehicle fuel, thus displacing much of the foreign oil needed to power cars. Pretty simple concept. He’s got nice videos describing the plan on his Media page.

A couple of hiccups for me:

  • He’s a rich oil guy — so what’s in it for him? Seems to me he’s trying to diversify his risk by becoming an important early player in the wind-farm market. Nothing wrong with that, per se. A businessman’s gotta make his money. But if he is spending his own money to recruit me to lobby my congressional leaders on his (plan’s) behalf, doesn’t that make me an unpaid chump in his scheme to make a lot of money for himself?
  • And if I am being a chump, how can I tell? His plan seems pretty common-sense. Simple, really. But there’s the rub. Energy policy is rarely simple, so this whole thing makes me suspicious of the motivations.
  • Another thing to be suspicious of his motivations — he’s a big-time, big-money contributor to good ol’ G.W., and a Swift Boat basher of John Kerry. Not that this should make any difference related to his ideas about clean energy. However, it is another Red Flag that this guy might not be all sweet and concerned as his ads make him appear.

I’m going to keep looking into it, but so far trading wind for natural gas for oil seems like an idea I can get behind. In theory, of course.