T. Boone Pickens, one-time oil tycoon, has realized that the movement toward clean technology and sustainable business practices holds more than financial promise. The Texan says he has discovered a new appreciation for wind and other alternative energy sources – an appreciation that goes well beyond his conviction that he’ll make Prius-loads of money by promoting the Pickens Plan to establishing massive energy systems independent of foreign oil.
In addition to solar panels and wind turbine, he is using a small generator mounted on a stationary bicycle to power his off-the-grid Texas home. As part of his daily exercise routine, Pickens spins away on the bike each morning, powering up his orange juicer enough to fill two glasses of OJ – one for him and one for his fourth wife Madeleine Pickens.
Though his calendar is packed with meetings and speaking engagements, Pickens has also decided to block out a few weeks this summer in order to pursue his newfound interest in backpacking. Over the next few years, he hopes to hike (in increments, of course) either the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail.
On a recent trip to San Francisco to drum up support for his alternative energy plan, Pickens spent an afternoon at a local Yoga center. Afterward, he commented that in addition to his conventional lobbying efforts to push forward the creation of transmission lines needed to link his wind turbines to the electrical grid, he is now also trying to use meditation and creative visualization tools to influence smart grid development.
If the smart grid fails to materialize, Pickens stands to lose a great deal of money – much more, in fact, than the $2 billion he lost in 2008. And if that happens? “No worries,” he says. “There are plenty of volunteering opportunities, and I could always become a community organizer.”