News and analysis about renewable energy in California.

Warren Buffett Buys California Wind Facility

The site of Alta Wind Energy Center in 2007 | Photo: Chris Clarke

MidAmerican Wind, a division of natural gas tycoon Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Renewables, has bought 300 megawatts-worth of wind turbines in the Tehachapi mountains. The company announced late last week that it would buy the Alta Wind VII and IX projects from developer California Highwind Power, a subsidiary of Terra-Gen Power.

The two components of the massive Alta Wind Energy Center (AWEC) began construction in April 2012. When they're completed, Alta Wind VI and IX will deliver power to Southern California Edison under a power purchase agreement that extends until 2035.

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MidAmerican Renewables' parent company MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company is wholly owned by Warren Buffett's conglomerate holding company Berkshire Hathaway.

AWEC will reach a total of 1.32 gigawatts of generating capacity when the units are finished. The complex covers 3,200 acres in the Tehachapis near Mojave, and was begun when Alta Wind units I through V broke ground in June 2010.

"With the addition of this 300-megawatt wind project, MidAmerican Renewables' portfolio includes more than 1,250 megawatts of owned renewable energy assets, enabling us to help meet the need for energy generated from renewable resources," Bill Fehrman, president of MidAmerican Renewables, said in a press release. "We are excited about this project and look forward to finding more opportunities to own and operate renewable energy resources that support our core principle of environmental respect."

MidAmerican Renewables owns geothermal, solar, and hydroelectric generating facilities as well as wind. The company owns ten geothermal plants in Imperial County, the Topaz Solar Farm in eastern San Luis Obispo County's Carrizo Plains, and the Agua Caliente solar project east of Yuma, Arizona.

If you're wondering what happened to Alta Wind VIII, Terra-Gen sold that 150-megawatt facility to Brookfield Renewables earlier this year.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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