Buffett Ready to Double $15 Billion Solar, Wind Bet
June 10, 2014
By Noah Buhayar & Jim Polson | Bloomberg Businessweek: Warren Buffett briefly lost track of how many billions of dollars his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (A:US) is spending to build wind and solar power in the U.S. That didn’t stop him from vowing to double the outlay.
Describing the company’s increasing investment in renewable energy at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention in Las Vegas yesterday, Buffett had to rely on a deputy, Greg Abel, to remind him just how much they’d committed: $15 billion.
Without missing a beat, Buffett responded: “There’s another $15 billion ready to go, as far as I’m concerned.”
Such bold remarks are common for the Berkshire chairman and chief executive officer. He frequently talks about hunting for “elephant”-size acquisitions (A:US)and making multibillion-dollar stock purchases.
Still, the comment speaks to the kinds of investments that are increasingly appealing to the billionaire now that his Omaha, Nebraska-based company is the fifth-largest in the world by market value. With dozens of units spinning off cash, Buffett has been allocating funds to regulated, capital-intensive businesses such as railroad BNSF and power companies.
“Buffett has always steered Berkshire toward the future,” said Lawrence Cunningham, a professor at George Washington University and author of the forthcoming book “Berkshire Beyond Buffett.” “Lately, that has meant intensifying the company’s focus on rudimentary, long-lasting businesses.”