The Berkshire Q&A

Source: Compiled by Cole Epley / Omaha World-Herald staff writer • Posted: Monday, May 4th, 2015

Question: Elon Musk last week debuted a product that promises to store renewable energy. How long before distributed energy storage becomes a threat to utilities like Berkshire Hathaway Energy?

Buffett fields tough questions at Berkshire meeting

Source: Donnelle Eller, The Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, May 4th, 2015

Buffett called out Berkshire Hathaway Energy CEO Greg Abel during the Q&A to update shareholders about how much energy MidAmerican Energy will get from wind after the Des Moines utility completes its latest project. Abel said the $900 million investment, announced Friday, will push the amount of energy MidAmerican customers get from wind to 58%.

MidAmerican adding $900M worth of new wind energy capacity in Iowa

Source: By Steve Jordon / Omaha World-Herald staff writer • Posted: Monday, May 4th, 2015

MidAmerican Energy plans $900 million worth of new wind-generated electricity capacity in Iowa, bringing the total wind farm investment it has announced this week to $1.5 billion. MidAmerican is a division of Berkshire Hathaway Energy of Des Moines, in turn, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. of Omaha. It said today it has filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board for up to 522 megawatts of generating capacity at two undisclosed locations in Iowa. That’s on top of a 400-megawatt Nebraska wind farm, worth about $600 million, that MidAmerican announced Thursday.

MidAmerican investing $900 million more in Iowa wind energy

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, May 4th, 2015

The utility filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board for the development of up to 552 megawatts of new wind generation in Iowa. The news comes as leaders of Berkshire Hathaway, the parent of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which owns MidAmerican, gather in Omaha this weekend for the company’s annual meeting. MidAmerican Energy is in the process of obtaining necessary permits and easements for the construction of wind farms at two new sites, it said Friday.

Path cleared for Wyo.-to-Nev. line seen as spur to wind development 

Source: Scott Streater, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 4th, 2015

The Obama administration is close to granting final approval to a multi-state power line project that would allow wind-generated electricity in Wyoming to power homes and businesses from Las Vegas to San Diego, Calif., but that still has some environmentalists concerned about potential impacts to greater sage grouse. The TransWest Express line would carry as much as 3,000 megawatts of electricity — including wind-generated power from planned wind farms in Wyoming — from a substation in Sinclair, Wyo., in the south-central part of the state across portions of Colorado and Utah to a substation in southern Nevada, about 25 miles south of Las Vegas. Once placed into service in 2018, the project would have the capacity to transmit enough electricity to power about 1.8 million homes.

Wind industry issues bright forecast despite weak growth in early 2015 

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 4th, 2015

The 131 MW of new wind energy capacity reflects a 40 percent drop from the same period in 2014, when the industry added 217 MW, according the American Wind Energy Association, which released the sector’s latest quarterly report Wednesday. But AWEA downplayed the anemic Q1 numbers, which reflect the sector’s fourth smallest quarterly growth since 2008 (its three smallest quarters all occurred in 2013). Instead, AWEA said the sector has emerged from its recent downslide and is poised for huge capacity additions as more than 100 projects currently under construction come online later this year and into 2016 and 2017.

Murkowski hopes colleagues provide energy bill ideas this week 

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 4th, 2015

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is asking senators to have bills filed by the end of this week to be considered for inclusion in the bipartisan energy bill she would like to have out of committee by the summer. The call for ideas is designed to let the committee hold its remaining legislative hearings on the bill this month, begin marking up components of the bill after the Memorial Day recess, and have something out of committee before the August recess.

Tesla Moves Into Batteries That Store Energy for Homes, Businesses

Source: By REUTERS • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

Tesla Motors Inc on Thursday unveiled Tesla Energy – storage systems or batteries for homes, companies and utilities that will expand its business beyond electric vehicles and tap into a fast-growing area of the energy industry. Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company’s goal was to “fundamentally change the way the world uses energy on an extreme scale.” He introduced the products to a crowd of business partners and journalists at a Tesla facility near Los Angeles.

With New Factory, Tesla Ventures Into Solar Power Storage for Home and Business

Source: By DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

In recent years, the fast-growing popularity of solar panels has intensified a central challenge: how to use the sun’s energy when it isn’t shining. Now, Tesla Motors, the maker of luxury electric sedans, says it is taking a big step toward meeting that challenge with a fleet of battery systems aimed at homeowners, businesses and utilities. The company’s foray into the solar storage market will include rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs that can mount to a home garage wall as well as battery blocks large enough to smooth out fluctuations in the grid.

Climate change accelerates the spread of asthma 

Source: Brittany Patterson and Manon Verchot, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, May 1st, 2015

“The changes we make to avert climate change not only have benefits for climate change, but they also have huge benefits on health,” Kaufman said. Kaufman’s statement echoes the ideas behind President Obama’s initiative to highlight connections between climate change and health announced earlier this month. The president even brought his own daughter Malia’s childhood battle with asthma to illustrate how combating global warming can directly affect those who have the respiratory disease.