Well the T. Boone Pickens medicine show came to town yesterday, so San Franciscans got the chance to see details of the Pickens Plan at the Commonwealth Club, the Western Hemisphere’s oldest and largest public affairs forum.
The Plan is another one those ever-popular “public private partnerships,” which in this case has the federal government paying a couple hundred spare billion dollars to build electric transmission lines for proposed windmills in the Midwest.
Making the pitch last month with Al Gore in Washington D.C.:
via the Center for American Progress Action Fund
But what about the Phil Anschutz (yes, the very same Anschutz billionaire dude with a longtime interest in the Bay to Breakers civic event!) Plan? Let’s see:
“On July 29, The Anschutz Corp.,through its affiliate Transwest Express LLC, said it had acquired the rights to develop a proposed $3 billion, 900-mile transmission line capable of moving 3,000 megawatts of power from wind farms in southern Wyoming to markets in Southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix.”
See? Somebody is trying to get something done without asking for hundreds of billions of your money. And that brings us to the white elephant on the white mountain up in northern Northern California.
Back in the 1950’s, the Everitt Memorial Highway on Mount Shasta was built so that the Mount Shasta Ski Bowl resort could be built. Did that project make sense?
“The old Mount Shasta Ski Bowl had been built in 1958 in a huge open cirque much higher up on the southern flank of the volcano, with a lodge at 7,800 ft and lifts topping out above timberline at 9,200 ft. However, the ski area had often been in financial trouble over the next two decades, and a massive avalanche in January 1978 which destroyed the main chairlift was the finishing blow. The Ski Bowl closed permanently after that…”
So just as the risk of this Shasta project was building an expensive road to nowhere, one of the risks of the Pickens Plan is building power lines to nowhere.
How is the Anschutz Corporation’s wind energy project working out? That’s a good thing to keep an eye on when you’re considering building a Bridge to Nowhere, or a Pickens transmission grid, or things like that.
Oh, and speaking of the Commonwealth Club, its ridiculous website’s popup ads remind us all of the upcoming Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner, coming up on Fiday, April 17, 2009 at the Fairmont Hotel. Enjoy.
Each year, The Club honors individuals who have made significant and enduring contributions to the Bay Area and California community, and who embody the principles and values of The Commonwealth Club.
The Annual Dinner is also The Club’s most significant fundraising event, raising funds to support its important nonprofit public forum mission throughout the year.