Bloomberg News

Buffett Energy Firm To Buy Illinois Project in Wind Bet

January 23, 2012

(Updates with company comment in the fourth paragraph.)

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s energy business agreed to buy an 81-megawatt wind-power project from Invenergy Wind LLC to expand production in Illinois.

The Bishop Hill II project, which is in construction, will use 50 General Electric Co. 1.62-megawatt turbines, according to a statement today from Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.

Berkshire, led by billionaire Warren Buffett, has been expanding renewable production at the energy unit, which also produces power with coal and natural gas. MidAmerican has invested about $6 billion in wind generation and built or acquired more than 3,300 megawatts of the renewable energy source in states including Iowa, Wyoming, Washington and Oregon since 2004. Last month, the energy unit agreed to buy the $2 billion Topaz solar project in California from First Solar Inc.

Wind “meets current and future energy needs in an environmentally efficient and cost-effective manner,” MidAmerican Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Greg Abel in the statement.

The Bishop Hill II wind project is near the town of Galva, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Peoria, Illinois, according to the statement. The project is expected to be in commercial operation in the fourth quarter. A unit of Ameren Corp. in Illinois has agreed to buy electricity from the project under a 20-year power-purchase agreement. Terms of the Invenergy deal weren’t disclosed.

MidAmerican also agreed last month to buy a 49 percent stake in NRG Energy Inc.’s $1.8 billion Agua Caliente solar project being built in Arizona.

--Editors: Steve Dickson, Will Wade

To contact the reporter on this story: Noah Buhayar in New York at nbuhayar@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net


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