Category Archives: Berkshire Hathaway Energy

MidAmerican Energy Places 356 MW Order for Wind XI Project in Iowa

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Wind turbine manufacturer Vestas has received a firm order from Berkshire Hathaway’s MidAmerican Energy Company for 356 MW of V110-2.0 MW turbines for the Wind XI project.

The order includes supply and commissioning of the wind turbines as well as a five-year Active Output Management 5000 (AOM 5000) service agreement, Vestas’ full-scope service package maximizing uptime and energy production.

The turbines will be manufactured at Vestas’ Colorado factories and delivery will begin in the second quarter 2019.

“This project will harness low-cost wind energy for MidAmerican Energy’s customers, all while enhancing the reliability and resiliency of the grid. Vestas is proud to deliver its industry-leading technology to this project that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits, including landowner lease payments, tax payments, and long-term secure jobs”, said Chris Brown, President of Vestas’ sales and service division in the United States and Canada.

In August 2016, The Iowa Utilities Board approved our request to invest $3.6 billion to install additional wind turbines in Iowa by year-end 2019. The project – Wind XI – is the largest economic development project in Iowa’s history.

Wind XI will generate an average of approximately $12.5 million per year in property tax payments, $18 million per year in landowner payments, and $48 million per year in state and local expenditures associated with the project.

When fully operational, the Wind XI project will ensure the utility generates approximately 90 percent of its retail energy load from wind.

The Wind XI project consists of multiple sites in Iowa that will be placed into service between 2017 and 2019.

MidAmerican Energy is the largest regulated utility owner of wind energy in the U.S.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Utilities Rack Up Millions in Benefits as Western Energy Imbalance Market Surpasses $400 million

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Berkshire Hathaway’s utilities NV Energy and PacifiCorp racked up over $16 million in benefits in the 2nd quarter through their participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market.

In 2014, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s PacifiCorp agreed to become the first participant in a new Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) as a way to balance electricity in-flows and out-flows on a regional basis and bring millions of dollars in benefits to participating utilities.

The Western Energy Imbalance Market total benefits have now surpassed $400 million.

For the 2nd quarter, Berkshire Hathaway’s NV Energy showed benefits of $5.34 million and Berkshire’s PacifiCorp achieved benefits of $11.67 million.

The Western EIM’s state-of-art technology automatically finds and delivers the lowest cost energy to serve more than 42 million consumers in eight western states, and extending to the border with Canada. In addition to optimizing diverse resources from a larger pool for lower costs, the EIM favors carbon-free generation, an added environmental benefit.

The market is poised to grow, with the Balancing Authority of Northern California/Sacramento Municipal Utility District (BANC/SMUD) set to begin participating in April 2019. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Salt River Project of Phoenix, and Seattle City Light will follow in April 2020.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

PacifiCorp Receives Final Approvals for Wind Power Plan

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Berkshire Hathaway’s utility PacifiCorp has received the final two state approvals needed for its wind power plan in Wyoming and Washington.

The plan includes 1,311 MW of new wind power, repowering just over 999 MW of existing wind capacity, and the new 140-mile, 500 kilovolt (kV) Aeolus-to-Bridger/Anticline transmission line in Wyoming.

Collectively, these resources contribute to meeting the capacity need identified in PacifiCorp’s updated load-and-resource balance and are on track to be in service by the end of 2020.

Through the end of 2036, the updated preferred portfolio includes over 2,700 MW of new wind resources, 1,860 MW of new solar resources, 1,877 MW of incremental energy efficiency resources, and approximately 268 MW of direct-load control resources.

This is the first time an Integrated Resource Plan has not included new fossil-fueled generation as a least-cost, least-risk resource for PacifiCorp.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway Makes New Vestas Turbine Purchases

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Vestas Wind Systems A/S has received an order from Berkshire Hathaway-owned utility PacifiCorp to repower two of its wind parks in the state of Washington.

Vestas will supply 216 MW of its V100-2.0 MW turbines, excluding towers, for the Marengo and Marengo II wind farms.

The order will replace the existing V80-1.8 MW turbines at the decade-old wind farms.

“As wind technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, repowering enables Vestas and our customers to update existing projects with the latest technology to unlock even more energy production and dramatically lower operating costs, extending the lifetime benefits of these projects,” Chris Brown, president of Vestas sales and service division in the US and Canada, said.

Berkshire recently placed an order with Vestas in December 2017 for its MidAmerican Energy subsidiary. That order for 70 MW of V110-2.0 MW turbines was for its Wind XI wind farm in Iowa.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

NV Energy to Get into EV Charging Station Business

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Nevada, a state with lots of wide-open spaces, is looking to reduce range anxiety for electric vehicle owners.

Nevada’s Public Utility Commission has given the go ahead to NV Energy to own and operate EV charging stations.

The move is part of Nevada’s Strategic Planning Framework, which has the objective of completing an “electric highway” system serving the entire state by 2020.

NV Energy will commit $15 million to develop the charging stations.

The Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy (GOE), Nevada Department of Transportation (NDO) and Nevada’s electric utilities are expanding the state’s charging infrastructure to support EV deployment by internally connecting the state’s urban centers and providing corridor connectivity to the surrounding region.

Phase I will build charging stations on U.S. Highway 95. This first phase connects Reno and Las Vegas and eliminates range anxiety for EV owners while also bringing business to local communities.

The first two operational charging stations on U.S. 95 are located in Valley Electric Association’s service territory, at Eddie World in Beatty and in NV Energy’s service territory, at Fox Peak Gas Station in Fallon.

Charging stations are currently under development with NDOT in Hawthorne and Tonopah.

Phase II will include U.S. Interstate 15, U.S. Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 93, and U.S. Highway 50.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations are placed at cost-effective and strategic locations along the Nevada’s major transportation corridors.

Each station is comprised of a minimum of one Direct Current Fast Charger and two Level 2 Chargers. Direct Current (DC) Fast Chargers can charge a vehicle in less than an hour; Level 2 chargers typically require several hours for a full charge.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

PacifiCorp Looks to Wind to Power Expanded Capacity

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PacifiCorp is looking to wind power and solar to meet future power needs, and will not be adding any new natural gas resources through the 20-year planning horizon.

This is the first time an Integrated Resource Plan has not included new fossil-fueled generation as a least-cost, least-risk resource for PacifiCorp.

The plan provides a framework for future actions that PacifiCorp will take to provide reliable and reasonably priced service for its customers through the least-cost, least-risk resource portfolio.

The plan includes 1,311 MW of new wind power, repowering just over 999 MW of existing wind capacity, and the new 140-mile, 500 kilovolt (kV) Aeolus-to-Bridger/Anticline transmission line in Wyoming.

Collectively, these resources contribute to meeting the capacity need identified in PacifiCorp’s updated load-and-resource balance and are on track to be in service by the end of 2020.

Through the end of 2036, the updated preferred portfolio includes over 2,700 MW of new wind resources, 1,860 MW of new solar resources, 1,877 MW of incremental energy efficiency resources, and approximately 268 MW of direct-load control resources.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Utilities Saved $14.68 Million in Q1 2018 Thanks to EIM

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Two of Berkshire Hathaway’s utilities, PacifiCorp and NV Energy, saved a combined $14.68 million so far this year through the western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM).

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) has released its western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) 2018 first-quarter benefits report that shows total savings have reached $330.52 million since the market’s launch in November 2014.

The benefits for January, February and March 2018 were $42.08 million for the six participating members, and the gross benefits for Berkshire’s NV Energy was $4.17 million and PacifiCorp was $10.51 million.

The western EIM platform automatically finds and delivers low-cost energy to serve consumers in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Optimizing diverse resources from a large geographic area enables more effective use of carbon-free generation besides reducing costs.

In 2014, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s PacifiCorp agreed to become the first participant in the Energy Imbalance Market, and NV Energy joined in December 2015.

The market will continue to grow in the coming years, with the Balancing Authority of Northern California/Sacramento Municipal Utility District set to begin participating in April 2019. Salt River Project of Phoenix, Seattle City Light and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power are slated to enter the market in April 2020.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Wind Powers Berkshire into Top Spot

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With 6.751GW of wind power owned or under contract, Berkshire Hahtaway Energy has moved into the top spot for utilities generating power through wind farms.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Berkshire passed Xcel Energy in 2017 to gain the top spot.

Berkshire’s MidAmerican Energy has set a goal of getting 100% of its energy generation from renewable sources, primarily wind power.

Other Berkshire utilities have also set ambitious goals.

PacifiCorp recently selected four new wind projects that will expand the amount of wind energy produced by 2020.

PacifiCorp’s owned and contracted wind power will increase by more than 60% and will.add enough wind power for approximately 450,000 average homes.

PacifiCorp’s new wind development is part of the company’s Energy Vision 2020 initiative, which also will upgrade the company’s existing owned wind fleet in Wyoming, Washington and Oregon with longer blades and newer technology, and build a new high-voltage transmission line in Wyoming to connect the new wind energy to PacifiCorp’s grid.

“We are committed to expanding the amount of renewable energy serving our customers, and these new wind projects will help us cost-effectively further that goal,” said Stefan Bird, President and CEO of Pacific Power, the unit of PacifiCorp that serves customers in Oregon, Washington, and California.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

NV Energy Exceeds Nevada’s Renewable Energy Requirement for 8th Straight Year

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Berkshire’s Hathaway’s NV Energy achieved a 25.5 percent renewable energy and related credits level in northern Nevada and 23.1 percent in southern Nevada, for a combined weighted average of 23.8 percent.

This is the eighth year in a row that NV Energy has exceeded the state’s renewable energy requirement, which currently sits at a 20 percent level.

Separate from this legislated mandate, NV Energy has set a goal to double its renewable energy portfolio by 2023.

The most recent additions to NV Energy’s renewable energy portfolio included the 50-megawatt Boulder Solar 2 project in Eldorado Valley southeast of Las Vegas and the 179-megawatt Switch Station 1 and 2 project located in the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone north of Las Vegas.

NV Energy’s Senior Vice President of Renewable Resources Dave Ulozas noted that NV Energy has been providing renewable energy to customers since the 1980s, and the most recent renewable energy rankings by the U.S. Energy Information Administration puts Nevada second in the nation for geothermal resources and fourth for solar energy.

“We are proud to continue to help expand Nevada’s growth in clean energy, which benefits both our customers and Nevada’s strengthening economy,” Ulozas said. “We’ve been able to accomplish this while keeping electricity rates about 15 percent lower than they were nearly a decade ago, and we anticipate adding a considerable amount of new renewable energy at similar or lower rates than we have in place today.”

Currently NV Energy customers benefit from 46 separate renewable energy projects in Nevada, which include 19 geothermal plants, 16 solar fields, six hydroelectric resources, four biomass or methane gas facilities and one large wind farm.

Five additional large solar fields are being constructed or developed for NV Energy customers, which are located in both northern and southern Nevada areas.

Additionally, the company and an independent evaluator are reviewing more than 100 bids for renewable energy projects and battery-energy storage systems proposed for 26 separate sites throughout Nevada. The winning bids will be submitted for approval to the PUCN by June 1, 2018.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Special Report: Opportunities Abound for Berkshire in the Growing EV Market

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Everyone can see it coming, petrol, gas, diesel, whatever you want to call it, will play a diminishing role in fueling cars of the future. It’s already playing a diminishing role right now.

Let’s look at a few numbers.

In 2016, 750,000 EV cars were sold worldwide, with Norway the highest in market share at 29%, and China the largest in total units sold. And, 2016 marked the first time that EVs passed more than 2 million vehicles on the road worldwide.

While those numbers are still tiny when compared to the 2 billion vehicles in service around the world, they confirm that the EV is not only here to stay, but will play an ever larger role in personal and commercial transportation.

Credit Tesla with making the EV fashionable in the U.S., and drawing in other car makers that are now debuting their own models. In fact, Tesla has made the EV so fashionable among high-end buyers that in Europe Tesla’s Model S outsold both the traditional petrol-fueled BMW 7 series and Mercedes-Benz S class.

It’s easy to go down the list of carmakers that are showing off their EV vehicles at this year’s auto shows. Volkswagen, which was committed to diesel cars before its huge emissions scandal, is now touting its EV retro-styled concept bus, the I.D. Buzz. And Jaguar’s heading to market in late-2018 with its I-Pace SUV.

BMW, Hyundai, Nissan, Porsche, Toyota, and Volvo, to name a few, are all announcing new EV models or EV versions of existing models. Even Bentley has an all-electric four-door coupe in the works for 2019, and a goal to have an electric version of each of its models by 2025.

For drivers in China that purchased 600,000 EVs in 2017 at the lower-end of the market, it’s China’s BYD that led the way, with Chery, SAIC Wuling, Hawtai, and BAIC all moving more than 3,000 units in December 2017 alone.

The new energy company BYD, which Berkshire Hathaway has a roughly $1.9 billion stake in, sold almost 14,000 ev cars in February 2018, and is the global sales leader despite not being in the U.S. market except for its pure-electric buses.

Back in the U.S., Tesla’s Model 3 is aimed at bringing the company’s cars to a whole new set of consumers, and it’s not the only one making inroads at making an EV with true extended driving range affordable.

GM’s more mainstream price point Chevy Bolt, which boasts a 238-mile range, is now heading towards the company’s goal of moving 30,000 units a year.

All this EV progress bring up the question of what’s Berkshire Hathaway’s role in it?

It’s likely not as a manufacturer.

Berkshire’s roughly 8 percent stake in BYD, and its stake in GM, which was actually down 10 million shares (-16.7%) as of its most recent 13-F filing, doesn’t indicate Warren Buffett wants to be anything but a passive investor in making cars.

Berkshire will certainly play a role in new and used EV sales, as its Berkshire Hathaway Automotive Group of 78 independently operated dealerships with over 100 franchises in 10 states, gives the company a slice of that market.

However, fueling EVs is also right up Berkshire’s alley.

Not the Cars, the Fuel

Berkshire’s in a number of interesting spaces when it comes to fueling EVs. As the EV market-share grows, so do the number of consumers that will be charging their vehicles at home.

When it comes to home charging, its utilities, including PacifiCorp, MidAmerican Energy and NV Energy generate and supply power in twelve states. And overseas, Berkshire’s Northern Powergrid delivers electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses in England.

Berkshire also is a big player in the electricity transmission business. Its BHE U.S. Transmission owns over a thousand miles of transmission lines in the southern U.S. and California. In Canada, Berkshire’s AltaLink is the largest regulated transmission company in Alberta, supplying electricity to more than 85% of the population.

Taking the EV on the Road

Even though much of the EV market will be charging its cars overnight at home, there is still a big need to be able to quickly charge your vehicle while traveling.

Out of necessity, Tesla has made a substantial investment in this space, to-date building 1,191 Supercharger Stations with 9,184 Superchargers.

These superchargers already benefit Berkshire in areas that get their power from Berkshire-owned utilities.

And a recent Berkshire acquisition has the potential to greatly boost their own capability in this space.

The New King of the Travel Center

In October 2017, Berkshire took a 38.6 percent equity stake in Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America. That stake will grow in 2023 when Berkshire will become the majority shareholder by acquiring an additional 41.4 percent equity.

With 750 locations across the U.S. and Canada, and more than $20 billion in revenues, Pilot Flying J already plays a substantial role in fueling cars and commercial trucks. It’s also a natural fit for EV charging stations. And while EV ranges continue to grow, the need to charge your vehicle away from home is also growing.

That’s Not All

The charging station space is so new that there are likely to be multiple opportunities for Berkshire, as the lack of a need for storage tanks, which kept traditional petrol fueling stations centralized, means that charging stations can fit into public parking lots, mall and office building parking, and other spaces that were inconceivable for a gas station.

For example, in Oregon, PacifiCorp just received the greenlight to build seven charging stations as part of a $4.64 million transportation electrification plan.

PacifiCorp plans to install seven “pods” that would include multiple dual-standard direct current fast chargers, which can provide up to 80 miles of driving range in 20 minutes of charging, and at least one level 2 port, which offers up to 20 miles of range in an hour of charging.

Whether utilities will ultimately be allowed to own large networks of charging stations remains to be seen, as some environmental groups and potential competitors in the space are already objecting to that concept.

However, the future looks bright for Berkshire. It’s got the electric power, it’s got the transmission, and it’s even got the car dealerships and travel centers that clearly will make it a player in the growing EV market.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2018 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.