« Back to Home Page

Sign up for the 3p daily dispatch:

T. Boone Who? Warren Buffett Now the King of Wind

Leon Kaye | Thursday March 3rd, 2011 | 2 Comments

Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha

Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha

Many of us remember the Texas billionaire who was on TV screens almost as often as Obama and McCain during the 2008 presidential election.  T. Boone Pickens promised a new era of energy independence, focused on natural gas and wind energy from the central United States.  But after spending US$80 million promoting the “Pickens Plan,” he walked away from a huge project in the Texas panhandle in 2009, and at the end of the last year he decided wind was no longer a breeze when compared the decreasing cost of natural gas.

Plenty of theories surrounded Pickens’s agenda:  he was really in it for water rights; he had more interest in natural gas; or logistically the plan to transfer energy from the rural middle to the populous U.S. coasts was doomed to flail.  Meanwhile, another American billionaire who knows a few things about investing has arguably become the largest investor in the American wind power market.

In his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, Warren Buffett noted that one of his portfolio companies, MidAmerican Energy, leads all regulated utilities when it comes to wind energy. By the end of 2011, MidAmerican will generate over 2900 megawatts of wind generation. The Des Moines based utility, which has electricity and natural gas customers in Iowa, South Dakota, and Illinois, has invested or committed US$5.4 billion in wind power. Buffett points out that when it comes to investing in technologies like that of wind energy, MidAmerican has an advantage over its competitors: the utility retains all of its earnings, unlike most utilities that pay out most of their earnings to shareholders. Some may debate whether Buffett and MidAmerica are truly the leaders in wind power investment–NextEra Energy generates an estimated 8000 megawatts from wind, most of which is sold wholesale to other utilities.

wind turbine in Sac County, iowa

wind turbine in Sac County, iowa

Iowa especially benefits from the surge in wind investment.  The Hawkeye State is now only second to Texas in wind power capacity.  Yet, despite complaints that renewable technologies like that of wind are too expensive, Buffett has also pointed out that MidAmerican customers in Iowa cities like Des Moines pay one-third less per kilowatt hour of electricity than its largest rival.  Iowa’s Public Utilities Commission also granted MidAmerican approval to install another 1000 megawatts of wind-generated power throughout the state.  MidAmerican also has solid relationships with local universities and environmental advocacies in Iowa, further proving that the choice between jobs or cleaner forms of energy is a false debate.

Indeed, MidAmerican pipelines transport 8% of the United States’ natural gas supply, so quick pronouncements that Buffett is a shining green knight are premature. Nevertheless, the Oracle of Omaha clearly believes in wind, and with the price of fossil based fuels poised to go no where but up this year, look for Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway shareholders to do even better next year–remember B.H. acquired Burlington Northern Santa Fe, too. Renewable energy and rail may prove to be savvy investment picks in the coming year.

Leon Kaye is the Editor of GreenGoPost.com; you can follow him on Twitter.


▼▼▼      2 Comments     ▼▼▼

Newsletter Signup
  • Jay Rosenberg, CEO

    We have an advanced wind turbine design that should drop the cost/ kWh below $1,000. How do I contact Mr. Buffet?
    sannerwind@gmail.com

  • LYP

    LYP-Tiffany And Co was set up in 1837 a U.S. jewelry and silverware company. 1853 Charles Tiffany master control of the company and simplified company name to Tiffany & Co..the company has since established the jewelry industry for business.Tiffany Outlet gradually establish branches in all major cities around the world.Tiffany Outlet Store has developed its own set of precious stones, platinum standards,and was adopted by the Government of the United States as an official standard.Today,Tiffany Outlet Online is one of the world’s famous luxury goods company.Cheap Tiffany And Co Blue Box more succinct fashion unique style logo.
    Tiffany & Co Outlet,Queen’s jewelry industry,with diamonds and silver products known to the world.Tiffany And Co Outlet was founded in 1837,the beginning of the silver cutlery famous,and in 1851 launched a 925 silver ornaments and more famous.1960 Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn starred in the “Tiffany Breakfast"is Tiffany Outlet named.Tiffany Jewelry Outlet,a symbol of American design.Of love and beauty, romance and dreams as the theme,but the wind reputation for nearly two centuries.Tiffany Rings is full of sensual beauty and soft,delicate sensibility to meet the fantasies and desires of all women in the world.
    In the world of high heels,christian louboutin is absolutely can not be ignored.christian louboutin sale is the favorite of European and American actress!Red-soled shoes are christian louboutin shoes signs marking,highlighting women’s lovely,beautiful and not play mature sexy.Whether you what kind of woman,all need to put on a pair of christian louboutin boots to set foot on the red carpet,we are unable to intervene As for your choice,but you should know that the christian louboutin sales name.
    The Max Azria’s herve leger from France,the brand established in 1985,is a famous fashion design house in Paris.herve leger dress is committed to shaping the women’s physical beauty,showing femininity another line feeling the silhouette.herve leger dresses every cut close to the body, carving out the perfect female body shape,and thus the image to get the name of “herve leger bandage dresses“.In addition to the ladies,herve leger sale famous perfume,herve leger shop and shopping malls of the world designated sales.