Warren Buffet’s Clinical View of Renewable Energy

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Warren Buffet’s Clinical View of Renewable Energy

Warren Buffet has been slammed by the media lately for waging an outrageous war on solar. But a recent shareholder letter reveals that his perspective on renewables is purely clinical and unflinchingly focused on the bottom line.
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Green Builder Media CEO, Sara Gutterman

Green Builder Media

Wednesday, March 9, 2016 - 6:00am

CAMPAIGN: Energy Solutions


Warren Buffet’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, has been the focus of an embroiled battle against solar in Nevada. One of its portfolio holdings, NV Energy, has been accused of colluding with the Public Utility Commission and Governor Sandoval to terminate net metering, effectively killing the residential solar rooftop industry in the State.

When analyzing the situation from a strictly financial standpoint, the decision is not surprising—distributed solar disrupts the traditional utility business model of producing and delivering energy, and it cuts into profits (the great irony, of course, rests in the fact that the residential solar industry has been the largest growth sector in Nevada for the last few years, spurring a tremendous boost in jobs and economic growth.)

However, in this year’s annual report to shareholders, Buffet’s message reveals that the situation isn’t as black and white as it may appear. Apparently, neither the company, nor the man, are unconditionally against solar.

In fact, Buffet wrote that the utility business is entering a period of uncertainty, and that renewable energy and energy efficiency are compelling utilities to move beyond ineffective business models and develop more competitive operational strategies.

Berkshire Hathaway owns 10 energy companies—three of these are large electric utilities serving territories across 11 states in the Midwest and West, so Buffet is paying keen attention to the sector’s transformation.


Keywords: Energy | Berkshire Hathaway | Energy Efficiency | Green Builder Media | Renewable Energy | Sara Gutterman | Solar | Warren Buffet

CAMPAIGN: Energy Solutions