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GE Set for a Pickens Windfall

OKLAHOMA CITY -- General Electric (GE - Get Report) sells more wind turbines, by far, than any other supplier in the nation.

But it never sold 667 of them at once until legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens decided to build his own wind farm.

His "Pickens Plan" calls for the U.S. to slash its dependence on foreign oil by exploiting its own natural resources instead. By using more wind to fuel its power plants and more natural gas to power its cars, Pickens predicts, the U.S. could cut its dependence on foreign oil by one-third in the next 10 years.

"We have got to get off of foreign oil," Pickens emphasized in a recent interview with TheStreet.com. "If we go another 10 years like we have the last 40, we are going to be importing 75% of our oil and paying $300 a barrel for it. It will break the country!"

Already, Pickens warns, the U.S. imports almost 70% of its oil at a cost that is fast approaching $700 billion a year. With the money spent on just one year's worth of foreign oil, he has calculated, the country could cover the investments necessary to transform wind into a mainstream fuel capable of generating 20% of the nation's power supply.

Since wind generates just 1% of the country's electricity right now, despite its increasing popularity among utilities, GE could land a flood of bulk orders if Pickens gets his way.

In fact, the company has enjoyed huge payoffs already. Earlier this decade, when oil was cheaper, GE took a chance by placing a fresh bet on alternative energy. It located a real bargain in the ashes of Enron.
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