Buffett’s Energy Unit Orders 258 Siemens Wind Turbines

Buffett’s Energy Unit Orders 258 Siemens Wind Turbines
Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., the power unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will expand wind-generation capacity by purchasing 258 turbines from Siemens AG and acquiring a project under development in Iowa.

The turbines will be located in five Iowa counties next year and have a combined capacity of 593 megawatts, enough power for 190,000 homes, MidAmerican said today in a statement on its website. Fifty-two of the turbines will be at the Laurel Wind Project, a planned facility about 50 miles northeast of the state capital of Des Moines that MidAmerican will buy from RPM Access, according to the statement. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

MidAmerican, which Berkshire bought in 2000, sells electricity in the Great Plains and the U.S. West and operates a pipeline that transports natural gas from Wyoming to California. Siemens will manufacture the turbines at its factories in Fort Madison, Iowa, and Hutchinson, Kansas, the Munich-based company said in a separate statement.

“The projects make good economic sense for Iowa and our customers,” Bill Fehrman, president of MidAmerican Energy Co., a subsidiary that made the Siemens order, said in a statement.

Siemens, Europe’s largest engineering company, also signed a service contract for a MidAmerican gas-fueled power generator. The natural gas plant provides power when other sources such as coal or wind can’t meet demand, said Ann Thelen, a spokeswoman for the company.

About a quarter of the MidAmerican Energy Co.’s generating capacity will come from wind power after the new turbines are installed, she said.

RPM Access secures permits, easements and other agreements necessary for wind-power investments in infrastructure in the Midwest and then sells them to operators such as MidAmerican, Aaron Theisen, a project developer at RPM, said in a telephone interview.

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