Monday, December 15, 2008

T. Boone Texas Natural Gas Man of the Year
Miriam Marcus, 12.14.08, 06:00 PM EST
Billionaire named Texan of the Year.
Following a 43-year line of prominent Lone Star State natives, billionaire energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens has been named Texan of the Year by the Texas Legislative Conference.

Self-made billionaire and the world's 368th richest person, T. Boone Pickens will be presented with the award for Texan of the Year in March at the New Braunfels Civic and Convention Center, joining past honorees including first ladies Laura Bush and Lady Bird Johnson, among others. The Texas Legislative Conference is a nonpartisan organization of Texas business and political leaders who meet annually to discuss public policy issues.

Well-known for his wealth and experience in the oil and gas industry, Pickens, is the founder and chairman of BP Capital Management, a hedge fund that made $1.0 billion in profits in 2006 betting on crude oil, natural gas and Canadian tar sands.

In May, the 80-year-old from Dallas announced his Mesa Power's plan to spend $2.0 billion on 667 General Electric (nyse: GE - news - people )-made wind turbines, as the first phase of a four-stage effort to build the world’s largest wind farm in Texas. (See "Green Pickens.") At its expected completion in 2014, the Pampa Wind Project in the Texas Panhandle will cover 400,000 acres and will generate 4 gigawatts of energy, enough to power more than 1.3 million homes.

Wind power and natural gas are integral parts of the "Pickens Plan," a 10-year project announced in July to replace more than a third of the oil the United States imports with wind, natural gas and other green energy sources and, in the process, wean the country off of foreign petroleum imports, saving more than $230.0 billion annually. Pickens launched the plan last summer when crude prices peaked over $147 a barrel and interest in alternative energy surged. Currently, America spends $700.0 billion a year on foreign oil.

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