T. Boone Pickens and his Mesa Group are working on a wind energy project that would tower above any other in the world.
The multi-billion dollar wind energy project, they are working on cover’s a four county region.
Mostly of the development will be seen in Gray and Roberts counties, with a little Hemphill and Wheeler counties.
Pickens invited only a select group of people to a private meeting on Tuesday where he outlined his plan to start the largest wind energy production the world has ever seen.
“We looked at an area where we had water rights, with real good wind and it’s just that simple,” said Mike Boswell with the Mesa Group
The early plans call for a two-to-four thousand-megawatt project, doubling maybe quadrupling the current largest wind farm residing in Abilene Texas.
“As much as some people think these things are an eye-sore, and to some extent they are, that’s a lot of revenue for the land owner,” said Boswell.
Only saying the project hits four different counties is an understatement.
After personally talking to Pickens at this meeting he told us he has no partner’s in this three to six billion dollar project.
Also, all the energy at this point would go to ERCOT, or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the electric grid and manages the deregulated market for 75 percent of the state.
“There’s a need in ERCOT for that kind of power there, and the demand for the ability to offload that kind of power, and we have Boone Pickens as a sponsor. You have to have that kind of background and sponsor to negotiate with the people that you’re going to have to negotiate with.”
The Mesa Group is already building a time-line. In the next few years they will work on finishing the logistics, planning to start construction by 2010 and be finish within six and a half years.
“The first thing we have to do is finish our engineering and financial feasibility, and work out a deal with landowners.”
“The land owners and the ability to work with landowners is crucial, for both the producers and the buyers of the electricity, so we just got to do that.”
The contract the Mesa Group is offering landowners is a 50-year lease with two 20-year extensions, paying the landowner back for any damages they cause to the land. Also they will get 4-percent annual royalty the first four years of the contract, 4.5 the next four, and five percent from there after. Guaranteeing a minimum annual royalty of $4,500 per turbine.
An offer some landowners say is hard to resist.
“I think that’s typical of Mr. Pickens he doesn’t do things in a small way,” said Scott Hahn, a Gray County Landowner that was at the meeting.
“The thing that impressed me the most is that he bent over backwards for the landowner.”
Other landowners were as enticed, but hesitant mainly because of the length of the contract.
“Probably the greatest concern is the length of the contracts, and unlike oil and gas leases these are contracts very few of us have had any experience with,” said Bill Philpott, a Roberts and Gray County landowner.
“You are realizing you are making a commitment today on a 50-year lease that would be dealing with decisions a landowners would make, and his grandchildren would have to live with.”
A wind energy project initiated by T. Boone Pickens and his mesa group that would end up being the largest in the world, totaling out to be a 3 to 6 billion dollar project.
By Chris Olsen
12 June 2007
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