Warren Buffet Boosts Wind Power with $1B Investment
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Iconic investor Warren Buffet has made the largest investment to date in land-based wind power through his utility company, MidAmerican Energy Holdings, Co. The company has placed an order for 448 wind turbines to the German manufacturer Siemens. These wind turbines will operate in the windy state of Iowa at a capacity of 1,050 MW.
Buffet had previously announced plans to make investments of $2 billion in wind energy in the state of Iowa, which is moving towards sourcing 50 percent of its power needs from wind energy. In addition to promoting environmental goals with this investment, Buffet has also shown his legendary business acumen by investing in wind energy at a time when its costs have been falling dramatically in the United States.
The cost of wind power is now becoming cheaper than that of the electricity produced by new coal-fired plants and new gas-fired generation. Wind power is competing on costs even with existing coal-fired plants. About this purchase of wind turbines made by MidAmerican,Siemens said that it indicates that wind as a source of energy is growing despite the absence of substantial government funding.
The current $1b investment in wind turbines is just a part of MidAmerican’s long-term plans. At present, the company is considering the option of shutting down several of its coal-fired plants over the next two years as soon as the newly purchased wind turbines become operational. Buffet had anticipated this market scenario when he said that utility providers could readily shift to eco-friendly sources of power if they save up to finance such future ventures. Wind power is now considered to be cheaper to maintain in the long run because of its renewable power source.
With coal mines, the challenges of air pollution and water poisoning continue to remain. Coal mining processes are detrimental to their surroundings, while coal power emissions are another problem to contend with. Smoke produced by coal power directly hits the atmosphere and pollutes the air that people breathe. On the contrary, wind energy is environment-friendly, and according to Bloomberg estimates, the cost of wind power is now within 5.5 percent range of the cost from existing coal assets. The American Wind Energy Association also says that wind farms are now profitable without subsidies.
Image Credit: Flickr via Timothy Tolle