Pickens pulls plug on Texas wind farm, looks for alternatives

Technical challenge of power distribution forces Pickens to evaluate other locations for the 687 wind turbines he has on order.

T. Boone Pickens announced on July 7 that his plans to build the world's largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle have been scrapped and that he's looking for a new location for the 687 wind turbines he has on order.

Pickens' company, Mesa Power, ordered the turbines from General Electric Co. more than a year ago. Pickens said he has leases on about 200,000 acres in Texas that were planned for the project, and he might place some of the turbines there, but he's also looking for smaller wind projects to participate in. He said he's looking at potential sites in the Midwest and Canada.

In Texas, the problem is getting power from the Panhandle to a distribution system. Pickens had hoped to build his own transmission lines, but he said there were technical problems. "It doesn't mean that wind is dead," said Pickens, who runs the Dallas-based energy investment fund BP Capital. "It just means we got a little bit too quick off the blocks." Pickens had hoped to complete the four-phase project in 2014 and eventually have 4,000 MW of capacity.