T Boone Pickens' plans for 4 GW on hold

Billionaire oilman T Boone Pickens' plans for the 4000 MW Pampa Wind Project in the Texas Panhandle are on hold due to the downturn in the US economy and a recent drop in oil and natural gas prices. The original project, touted as the world's largest wind development, was to include 2700 turbines, cost $10-12 billion, begin construction in 2010 and be completed by 2014. The 80-year-old Pickens ordered 670 turbines from GE in the spring and in July launched a $58 million public relations campaign, the Pickens Plan, when oil cost upwards of $140 a barrel. In October, Pickens told CBS news program 60 Minutes that he and his hedge fund had lost $2 billion, largely because of plummeting energy prices. Meanwhile, while Pickens continued to call for a new $70 billion transmission grid in the US as recently as last month, his energy investment company, BP Capital, has delayed work on securing a permit to build 170 miles of Panhandle transmission lines. Pickens told National Public Television that his first GE wind turbines are still on track to begin arriving in 2010, but he did not provide details on whether it is the full 670 units and where they are headed for commissioning. Pickens and representatives from his development company, Mesa Power, decline to comment.