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Warren Buffett's MidAmerican opens renewable unit

Posting in Energy

MidAmerican Energy Holdings has made a handful of large investments recently in both wind and solar energy. Now the company, which is a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, is creating a new business to handle all of its renewable energy interests.

MidAmerican Energy announced today it has created MidAmerican Renewables to oversee wind, geothermal, solar and hydro projects. The new business unit will be based in Des Moines, Iowa and will be headed by Bill Fehrman, who is currently president and CEO of the utility.

MidAmerican already has significant wind energy holdings. The company announced earlier this month plans to build 176 turbines in Iowa by the end of the year, an investment that will push its wind power capacity to 2,284 megawatts, the most of any investor-owned U.S. utility. Last month, MidAmerican moved into the solar biz as well when it bought First Solar's 550-megawatt Topaz project in California. MidAmerican also announced an agreement to buy First Solar's $1.8 billion 290-megawatt Agua Caliente project in Yuma County, Arizona.

In other words, this renewables unit doesn't mark a new direction for MidAmerican. It merely confirms the utility's interest in renewable energy and hints that there will be more projects to come, including geothermal and hydro.

Photo: Flickr user Fortune Live Media, CC 2.0

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— By on January 24, 2012, 3:32 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