Monthly Archives: October 2020

BHE Renewables and MidAmerican Energy Renew Contract with Uptake Technologies

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BHE Renewables and MidAmerican Energy, two subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, have renewed their contract with Uptake Technologies. Uptake has previously worked with both companies to deliver AI-enabled SaaS products to optimize maintenance operations and increase energy production across their wind fleets.

The new contract builds on the previous engagement, expanding use of Uptake’s product from the current 4,914 megawatts across 23 sites to an additional 13 sites and 2,283 megawatts.

“Three years ago, our companies recognized the potential of Uptake’s AI capabilities at a time when Uptake’s products were promising, though still emerging,” said Tom Budler, president, wind, at BHE Renewables. “We have been pleased with the results and look forward to expanding the application to additional sites and collaborating with Uptake to develop and implement application enhancements over the next three years.”

Uptake’s power performance AI application enables engineering and operations teams to quickly identify power production issues and their root causes, correcting for confounding variables; leverage supporting evidence to decide on and take action or improve service provider management; and prioritize machine learning recommendations based on potential energy production gains. Uptake has proven to increase annual energy production up to 2% at typical wind customers’ sites, including those under warranty maintenance.

The original engagement between Uptake and MidAmerican and BHE Renewables began in 2017 with the goal of increasing the energy production of the companies’ wind turbines through predictive data analytics.

Since then, Uptake has been deployed across 16 MidAmerican and seven BHE Renewables sites. Between January 2019 and September 2020 alone, Uptake has delivered a total of 981 validated power performance alerts for MidAmerican and BHE Renewables.

“It’s incredibly validating that one of our largest and longest-standing customers is doubling down on Uptake,” shared Brad Keywell, Founder and CEO of Uptake. “These companies represented our first customer in the energy industry — they believed in our software and our ability to uncover operational recommendations from the available data coming off their wind turbines. I’m proud that our products have delivered helpful and impactful insights that have enabled legitimate value to Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s business.”

© 2020 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.

Ocala, Florida Purchases BYD Battery-Electric Refuse Trucks

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Berkshire Hathaway-backed Chinese battery and vehicle manufacturer BYD has announced that the City of Ocala, Florida will add five Class 8 battery-electric refuse trucks to its fleet, making it one of the first cities in Florida to adopt BYD’s innovative zero-emission technology.

The trucks will be assembled in the United States with union labor.

BYD, the leader in commercial electric truck deployments in the United States, is the world’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles and the global leader in battery-electric trucks with more than 12,000 electric trucks in service around the world.

The Ocala City Council pre-approved the 2021 purchase of three quiet, clean-electric BYD refuse trucks and will buy two more in 2022. The BYD vehicles will replace older- model internal combustion powered trucks that are currently in use.

“The community of Ocala has taken a leadership role in Florida with the purchase of these BYD electric trucks,” said John Gerra, Sr. Director of Business Development with BYD Motors. “All BYD trucks are purpose-built and utilize our proprietary safe battery technology that exceeds the requirements for some of the most rigorous safety-testing programs around the world.”

Ocala officials estimate the operation of BYD trucks will result in fuel cost savings of nearly 78 percent. In addition, with fewer moving parts making them less costly to maintain, the city estimates there will be a cost savings of nearly 75 percent in maintenance costs. The BYD trucks are estimated to provide a total life cycle savings to Ocala of approximately $270,000 and a return on the taxpayers’ investment in under 5 years.

BYD’s Lancaster, California manufacturing facility employs 750 men and women, many are members of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Union, (SMART), Local 105.

A Profitable EV Company

BYD recently reported a net profit of 1.66 billion yuan (roughly 242 million U.S. dollars) for the first half of 2020. The net profit rose 14.29 percent over the same period in 2019.

Through June 30, BYD had revenue of 60.5 billion yuan, down 2.7 percent year on year, according to BYD’s financial report filed with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Despite the global pandemic, BYD projects 2.8 billion yuan to 3 billion yuan of net profit in the first three quarters of this year, which would be an increase of 77.86 percent to 90.56 percent from the same period of 2019.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million has grown in value sixteen-fold.

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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-Backed BYD Delivers eBuses to Columbia, Missouri

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Berkshire Hathaway-backed Chinese battery and vehicle manufacturer BYD delivered four American-made battery-electric K7M buses to the City of Columbia, Missouri’s transit agency Go COMO.

BYD’s nimble, state-of-the art zero-emission 30-foot K7M battery electric buses, manufactured in the United States, are perfect for helping maintain Columbia’s college town feel, shuttling students and workers to their destinations in quiet comfort.

“We are thrilled to partner with Go COMO,” said Patrick Duan, BYD North America Vice President. “Our American-built buses are well-made, reliable and bring innovative technology to Main Street in communities around the nation like Columbia.”

With the launch of these award-winning BYD buses, Columbia becomes the first city in Missouri to put zero-emission transit vehicles into revenue service.

“We are excited to already have our four new buses in circulation at Columbia. We are dedicated in continuing to provide sustainable transportation options to residents and visitors of Columbia,” said Dale Lynn, City of Columbia, Missouri transportation superintendent.

Working at BYD’s factory in Lancaster, Calif., members of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – SMART Union, Local 105 – constructed the innovative and technologically superior K7M for the City of Columbia to include 22 seats, and a range of up to 150 miles. The bus has a charging time of 2.5 to 3 hours.

In August, BYD delivered three K7Ms to another Missouri customer, the Kansas City International Airport, bringing the airport’s total fleet of BYD’s American-made electric buses to seven. KCI was the first airport in the nation to deploy electric buses, using the K7Ms as parking lot shuttles, bringing passengers to the airport’s terminals.

A Profitable EV Company

BYD recently reported a net profit of 1.66 billion yuan (roughly 242 million U.S. dollars) for the first half of 2020. The net profit rose 14.29 percent over the same period in 2019.

Through June 30, BYD had revenue of 60.5 billion yuan, down 2.7 percent year on year, according to BYD’s financial report filed with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Despite the global pandemic, BYD projects 2.8 billion yuan to 3 billion yuan of net profit in the first three quarters of this year, which would be an increase of 77.86 percent to 90.56 percent from the same period of 2019.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million has grown in value sixteen-fold.

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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.

Commentary: Precision Castparts to Face Long Term Negative Impacts From Airplane Manufacturers’ Woes

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Berkshire Hathaway’s Precision Castparts will have reduced demand over the next decade for its aerospace parts that it supplies to the commercial airline industry, according to a new report issued by Boeing.

Precision Castparts manufactures parts for both Boeing and its rival Airbus, and in February the company laid off 150 Oregon workers as the production Boeing’s 737 MAX was halted. Boeing’s market projections show that its troubles are broader than just the issues it has faced with the 737 Max.

The 2020 Boeing Market Outlook projects that the commercial aviation and services markets will continue to face significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while global defense and government services markets remain more stable.

Airlines globally have begun to recover from a greater than 90% decline in passenger traffic and revenue early this year, but a full recovery will take years, according to the Boeing outlook.

As it relates to Precision Castparts’ revenues, the 2020 Boeing Market Outlook includes projects an overall demand for 18,350 commercial airplanes in the next decade – 11% lower than Boeing’s 2019 forecast.

On the positive side, in the longer term, with key industry drivers expected to remain stable, the commercial fleet is forecasted to return to its growth trend, generating demand for more than 43,000 new airplanes in the 20-year forecast time period.

The BMO also projects a $2.6 trillion market opportunity for defense and space during the next decade. This spending projection reflects the ongoing importance of military aircraft, autonomous systems, satellites, spacecraft and other products to national and international defense. This demand continues to be global in nature with 40 percent of expenditures expected to originate outside of the United States.

In addition to the 2020 Boeing Market Outlook, Boeing also released its 2020 Commercial Market Outlook. Its Commercial Market Outlook is the longest-running jet forecast and is regarded as the most comprehensive analysis of the commercial aviation industry. The Commercial Market Outlook forecast projects:

• Over the next 20 years, passenger traffic growth is projected to increase by an average of 4% per year.

• The global commercial fleet is expected to reach 48,400 by 2039, up from 25,900 airplanes today. During this period, Asia will continue to expand its share of the world’s fleet, accounting for nearly 40% of the fleet compared to about 30% today.

• Single-aisle airplanes such as the 737 MAX will continue to be the largest market segment, with operators projected to need 32,270 new airplanes in the next 20 years. Single-aisle demand will recover sooner due to its key role in short-haul routes and domestic markets as well as passenger preference for point-to-point service.

• In the widebody market, Boeing forecasts demand for 7,480 new passenger airplanes by 2039. Widebody demand will be affected by a slower recovery in long-haul markets – typical after air-travel shocks – as well as uncertainties from COVID-19’s impact on international travel.

• Air cargo demand, a relative bright spot in 2020, is expected to grow 4% annually and generate further demand for 930 new widebody production freighters and 1,500 converted freighters over the forecast period.

In summary, the 43,110 projected airplane types projected by Boeing are:

Regional jets 90 and below 2,430
Single-aisle 90 and above 32,270
Widebody 7,480
Freighter widebody 930

Lastly, as it impacts Precision Castparts, the 11% projected decline in demand for commercial airplanes in the next decade does not take into account competition from China’s budding commercial aviation industry. While only in its infancy at this time, it is not clear what threat it will pose to established manufacturers Boeing and Airbus, and whether Chinese commercial planes will use parts manufactured by Precision Castparts, or instead use parts from domestic suppliers.

© 2020 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.

BYD Gets Large eBus Order From Finland

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Chinese battery and vehicle manufacturer BYD Co., Ltd. has secured Finland’s largest eBus order – 106 vehicles for Nobina, one of Scandinavia’s largest public transport operators.

Nobina will also be the first transit operator in the world to order BYD’s new 50-foot, three-axle low-floor eBus model. An impressive 42 of the new vehicles will go into service in the southwestern city of Turku in Summer 2021.

BYD’s new 50-foot eBus model offers 47+3 seating capacity. Of course, like all BYD heavy duty vehicles, BYD’s latest model features the safest batteries in use anywhere in the world.

A Profitable EV Company

BYD recently reported a net profit of 1.66 billion yuan (roughly 242 million U.S. dollars) for the first half of 2020. The net profit rose 14.29 percent over the same period in 2019.

Through June 30, BYD had revenue of 60.5 billion yuan, down 2.7 percent year on year, according to BYD’s financial report filed with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Despite the global pandemic, BYD projects 2.8 billion yuan to 3 billion yuan of net profit in the first three quarters of this year, which would be an increase of 77.86 percent to 90.56 percent from the same period of 2019.

BYD and Berkshire Hathaway

In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million has grown in value sixteen-fold.

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a 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.