T. Boone Launches “Pickens Plan” to Save U.S.

Oil baron turned wind developer T. Boone Pickens says gas-guzzling America is in need of an oil intervention. To get us off the sweet Saudi sticky, today Pickens has launched his Pickens Plan, accompanied by a media blitz of television ads (embedded after the jump), a web site and even an array of web 2.0 tools (T. Boone Twitters!).

With a Texan’s penchant for superlatives, Pickens, who is currently building what he says will be the world’s largest wind farm, is launching his Pickens Plan with what he calls the biggest public policy ad campaign ever. Pickens’s PR tells USA Today that America will be seeing just about as much Boone as Obama or McCain in their living rooms as the hedge funder tries to make foreign oil independence the No. 1 issue of this election. (also watch the informational video from Pickens web site embedded below)

The Pickens Plan sounds simple enough: In order to reduce our use of foreign oil, Pickens proposes using the natural gas that currently generates about 20 percent of our electricity to replace about a third of our imported transportation fuel. Compressed natural gas has existed as a transport fuel for some time but hasn’t been a highly prioritized alternative to gasoline.

Pickens then wants to replace that energy on the grid with wind — an energy source the DOE estimates is capable of satisfying 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs. According to Pickens’s flowchart-laden math, this energy shuffle will reduce our annual imports of foreign oil to $400 billion from $700 billion in 10 years.

This isn’t the first time Pickens has bought a place for his voice in a presidential election. In the 2004 election, Pickens supported the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry and offered $1 million to anyone who could disprove the group’s claims.

Pickens stands to gain considerably from his proposed plan, as his $12 billion wind investment is still under construction. But the 80-year-old oilman is convinced we can do it. We just need the right leadership, he says, which might be purchasable with the right ad campaign.