News

Buffett’s Big Energy Bets Go Beyond ExxonMobil

Source: By Scott Levine, The Motley Fool, Dec. 17, 2013 • Posted: Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The Oracle of Omaha is certainly not guilty of a lack of energy in the remaining days of 2013. Warren Buffett grabbed his share of recent headlines when he disclosed a $3.45 billion stake in ExxonMobil. And although this story received large amounts of attention from the media, it’s only fair to acknowledge Berkshire Hathaway’s subsidiary, MidAmerican Energy Holdings, which has also been busy lately.

Wind Power Rivals Coal With $1 Billion Order From Buffett

Source: By Ehren Goossens Dec 17, 2013, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The decision by Warren Buffett’s utility company to order about $1 billion of wind turbines for projects in Iowa shows how a drop in equipment costs is making renewable energy more competitive with power from fossil fuels. Turbine prices have fallen 26 percent worldwide since the first half of 2009, bringing wind power within 5.5 percent of the cost of electricity from coal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., a unit of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), yesterday announced an order for 1,050 megawatts of Siemens AG (SIE) wind turbines in the industry’s largest order to date for land-based gear.

Senators push for end to PTC, citing wind industry’s maturity

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Alexander and Manchin are among the Senate’s top critics of the wind industry’s prized tax credit. While the $23-per-megawatt-hour PTC also supports geothermal, biomass and other renewable sources, wind is responsible for the lion’s share of its cost, estimated at more than $1 billion per year. Wind is the largest non-hydro renewable electricity provider and was the source of more new installed capacity than any other source last year, surpassing natural gas.

Baucus acknowledges need for work on tax extenders — GOP senator

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Providing the most prominent acknowledgement to date that comprehensive tax reform may not happen before the 113th Congress adjourns, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus last week told a private meeting of committee members that they likely would have to address a raft of temporary tax breaks in isolation next year, a senior Republican on the panel told Greenwire today. The Montana Democrat’s acknowledgement carries wide implications for wind energy developers, biofuels producers and building efficiency companies that rely on the temporary tax breaks known as extenders.

A Struggle to Balance Wind Energy With Wildlife

Source: By DAN FROSCH, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

As the Obama administration seeks to clear a path for more renewable energy projects, it has increasingly found itself caught between two staunch allies: the wind energy industry and environmental organizations. Tensions between both groups and the administration have risen since a new federal rule was announced this month allowing wind farms to lawfully kill bald and golden eagles under 30-year permits.

Fracking boom is dilemma for environmentalists

Source: By Erika Bolstad / McClatchy Washington Bureau • Posted: Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Here, in the heart of coal country, at the center of the natural gas boom and the former foundation of U.S. manufacturing might, a long-shuttered auto plant now houses the Aquion Energy factory. Its workers are building innovative batteries to store solar- and wind-generated electricity. Yet Aquion’s best customers are across the globe, not down the street. The battery manufacturing plant sits southeast of Pittsburgh, atop the Marcellus Shale, the rich geographic formation that is one of the epicenters of the natural gas boom. So the battery storage systems the company makes aren’t likely to be used here, a region brimming with abundant natural gas reserves and reliant on coal-fired plants for energy.

Siemens: MidAmerican turbine order largest ever

Source: By Donnelle Eller and Jason Noble, Des Moines Register • Posted: Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

MidAmerican Energy’s plan to build 448 wind turbines in Iowa has created the world’s largest order for onshore wind turbines, says the utility and Siemens, the company that will provide the equipment. MidAmerican plans to complete five Iowa wind energy projects by 2015, an expansion that will cost $1.9 billion. The Des Moines-based power company will create a total of 1,050 megawatts of energy, enough power for 317,000 U.S. households, the company said. The project is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs over two years and add 40 permanent jobs.

Buffett’s MidAmerican Awards Siemens Top Wind-Turbine Order

Source: By Ehren Goossens December 16, 2013, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., the power unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (A:US), agreed to buy wind turbines valued at more than $1 billion from Siemens AG (SIE) for five projects in Iowa, in the supplier’s biggest order to date for land-based wind equipment.

Wind Power Rivals Coal With $1 Billion Order From Buffett

Source: By Ehren Goossens Dec 17, 2013 2:03 AM CT, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

The decision by Warren Buffett’s utility company to order about $1 billion of wind turbines for projects in Iowa shows how a drop in equipment costs is making renewable energy more competitive with power from fossil fuels. Turbine prices have fallen 26 percent worldwide since the first half of 2009, bringing wind power within 5.5 percent of the cost of electricity from coal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., a unit of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., yesterday announced an order for 1,050 megawatts of Siemens AG wind turbines in the industry’s largest order to date for land-based gear.

Baucus energy draft expected tomorrow

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Apparently not content to simply ease into the holiday recess, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is expected tomorrow to release a draft tax reform bill focused on the energy sector, Senate aides said yesterday. Details of the draft are being closely held. A Finance Committee aide declined to provide any details yesterday, and several other aides to senators with an interest in energy policy said they had not seen the details of the draft.