T. Boone Pickens abandons plan for giant Texas wind farm

T. Boone Pickens is ditching his plans for a giant wind farm in Texas and wants to build some smaller ones in other places, possibly including Kansas.

Pickens said in an interview with The Dallas Morning News that he wouldn't build what had been billed as the world's largest wind farm — a 1,000-megawatt project in Pampa, Texas — because of problems in getting a transmission line to the site.

But he's already ordered the 687 giant wind turbines and "my garage won't hold them" when they start arriving in 2011. So, he's looking at some other locations in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, along with Canada.

Kansas is making a big push toward building a wind industry, including plans for a new transmission line in southern Kansas that would export power to other states. Kansas officials said Tuesday that they hadn’t heard from Pickens but would welcome his interest.

“Kansas is leading the way for renewable energy and the perfect state for wind farms and the manufacturers for this industry,” said Beth Martino, spokeswoman for Gov. Mark Parkinson.

Pickens has made much of his plan to wean the country from foreign oil by using more wind power for electricity and natural gas to fuel trucks and cars. But so far those plans have made little progress, in part because of the recession and seemingly more interest in other alternative energy sources for vehicles, such as electricity.

His Texas plans had included a 1,000-megawatt wind farm that by 2014 would grow to 4,000 megawatts — enough when all turbines were operating to supply electricity to 3 million households.