MidAmerican Energy (MEH)a company whole owned by legendary investor Warren Buffets Berkshire Hathaway has cancelled plans towards a Gigawatt scale nuclear power plant in Iowa and refunded funds from the State of Iowa for preliminary studies. MEH continues working on studies for a 1,000 MW of wind energy to complement last months purchase of 579 MW of solar in Southern California. Currently Warren Buffet views nuclear as a bad investment, Solar as a great investment and wind is a good prospect.
In 2010, MEH began studies on nuclear potential within iowa, settling on 2 counties and performing initial design studies and soil analysis. MEH was originally interested in large part because of the then expected carbon trading market. In 2009, the US House of Representatives had passed a cap and trade scheme for carbon fuels and Iowa being heavily powered by coal plants would provide a very strong market for carbon-free power. By 2012, MEH had conducted environmental assessments and was ready for a project commitment decision. On June 4, 2013, MEH informed the Iowa Utilities Board that it would be
premature to begin either a large nuclear power plant or a series of small modular reactors and returned 8.8 million dollars of funding that had been collected by MEH as a surcharge for capital facilities developement from ratepayers.
Buffet retains a fondness for wind power with MEH announcing last month an additional $2 Billion investment in wind farms in iowa. MEH will add with this investment about her 656 turbines to the 1267 turbines it already has in Iowa. This additional investment came after Gov. Branstad broke with his party and presidential candidate to lobby for an extension of the wind Production Tax Credit.
Buffet made world wide headlines when earlier this year he purchased a $2 Billion dollar solar farm in the Antelope Valley of California and then expanded this with a a 49% investment in the aqua caliente plant in Arizona.
If Warren Buffet is any indication, the smart money has stopped investing into nuclear and is now betting hard on wind and solar.