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Buffett's MidAmerican buys world's largest permitted solar project

Posting in Energy

Just a year ago, MidAmerican Energy Holdings, one of the many units in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, announced it was creating a new business to handle all of its renewable energy interests.

Since its inception, the subsidiary MidAmerican Renewables has wasted little time, snapping up solar and wind farms. The company currently has a portfolio of 1,830 megawatts of owned power assets, including wind, geothermal, solar and hydro.

MidAmerican Renewables kicked off 2013 with another major purchase. The company announced this week it has acquired SunPower's Antelope Valley Solar Projects, two co-located projects in Kern and Los Angeles counties in California.

MidAmerican didn't disclose the purchase price. However, analysts have pinned the purchase price somewhere between $2 billion and $2.5 billion.

Together, the combined projects will form the largest permitted solar photovoltaic power development in the world, according to SunPower and MidAmerican.

Some stats on Antelope Valley:

  • located on 3,230 acres;
  • capacity 579 megawatts;
  • project will provide energy to Southern California Edison under two long-term power purchase contracts approved by the Californian Public Utilities Commission;
  • SunPower will install its "Oasis" power plant product, a modular solar technology engineering to rapidly deploy utility-scale projects while minimizing land use;
  • construction to begin in first quarter of 2013;
  • plants expected to be complete by year-end 2015;
  • project is expected to offset more than 775,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, the equivalent to removing almost three million cars from California's highways over 20 years of the plant's operation.

Photo: SunPower

— By on January 3, 2013, 1:44 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure