Buffett Company Grabs Two California Wind Projects

Warren Buffett bought himself two more wind farms on Sunday.

OK, it’s a little more roundabout than that. MidAmerica Wind bought two Southern California wind farm projects, part of the sprawling Alta Wind Energy Center – and by “projects” we mean they aren’t operating yet, but are expected to be by the end of the year. (They better be, in order to qualify for expiring federal tax breaks.)

alta wind energy center, warren buffett

Satellite view of a small portion of the vast Alta Wind Energy Center (image via Google Maps)

And how does MidAmerican Wind relate to Warren Buffett? It’s a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables, which is a subsidiary of MidAmerican Energy Holdings, which is majority owned by Berkshire Hathaway, for which the Oracle of Omaha, Mr. Buffett, is the chairman and CEO, and the largest shareholder.

The seller, developer Terra-Gen Power, in April had closed $650 million financing for the two projects, 168-megawatt Alta Wind VII and 132-MW Alta Wind IX. When they go online, the pair will boost the entire complex’s peak capacity to 1,320 MW, making it the largest wind farm in the world. It’s about 70 miles north of downtown Los Angeles as the crow flies.

alta wind energy center

Vestas V90-3.0 MW (image via Wikimedia Commons)

Electricity from the two wind farms is under contract to go to Southern California Edison until 2035, taking advantage of the utility’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project.

MidAmerican Renewables said the acquisitions gives it 1,250 MW of owned renewable energy assets. In January the company bought three wind projects in Iowa, totaling more than 400 MW; it has also recently bought whole or partial stakes in big solar projects in California and in Arizona.

In its April financing announcement, Terra-Gen Power said the VII and IX projects would consist of 100 V90-3.0 MW turbines from Vestas-American Wind Technology.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • Wind projects are destroying the last of California’s wild public lands .This is all fueled by greed.And short term profit. Warren Buffet ,come on .He’s turning into a Monster!Their forcing people off their lands ,and destroying wilderness.Its then100 % Destruction of the land after that .Every tree, every animal .,any and all cultural resource’s laid to wasted .I don’t like burning things for fuel .But this is not at all the answer to the worlds problems .It really Begins with us. Stop human over population Now.!Get the idea of electricity out of every ones head ,as a thing that they must have.all the time .We are not children are we ?Must we be entertained 24/7?.

    • Living in Europe where wind is more common, and often owed ad operated by city owned utilities,I fail to see how wind drives people off their lands. Farmers here like it on their lands. And, you onlyneed small roadways to service win turbines in forested areas- where the turbine blades revolve above the trees. Of course we also have massive offshore wind projects like Dan Tysk (70 km offshore) or the Helgoland wind- 90 km offshore, which get in nobodies way and which generate massive amounts of power.
      I was personally involved in a project for Souther Africa, which will be putting up 98.000 turbines- bringing power to people who currently rely on kerosene for light and cook stoves.