MidAmerican to buy 2 Calif. Solar power projects - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

MidAmerican to buy 2 Calif. Solar power projects

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MidAmerican Energy is buying two solar power projects under construction in Southern California from SunPower Corp. that will generate 579 megawatts of electricity.

MidAmerican said Wednesday that it agreed to pay between $2 billion and $2.5 billion for the projects, to be completed in 2015.

MidAmerican said the Antelope Valley Solar Projects will provide power to Southern California Edison.

The projects are expected to employ 650 people during construction.

MidAmerican - which is part of Warren Buffett's Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. - set up its renewable power subsidiary a year ago.

Since then it has bought a portfolio of 1,830 megawatts of wind, geothermal, solar and hydro power production.

That includes a deal last fall to buy two California wind farms north of Los Angeles that can generate 300 megawatts of peak electric capacity, and the 550-megawatt Topaz solar farm in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.

The power generated by these projects is sold to utilities in the open market and doesn't go to MidAmerican Energy or its PacifiCorp utility that serves several western states, said spokeswoman Ann Thelen, who is based at MidAmerican's headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.

Thelen said MidAmerican may continue buying renewable energy projects if they're attractive and fit with the company's environmental goals.

"We're open for business and continuing to look at prospects that are a good fit for the organization," Thelen said.

The market for renewable energy is especially promising in California because the state set an ambitious goal to have one-third of its electricity derived from renewable sources by 2020.

Southern California Edison's Nicole Neeman Brady said the MidAmerican development will help the utility meet California's renewable energy goals.

SunPower operates more than 1,000 megawatts of solar power plants globally. Its shares rose 54 cents, or 9.6 percent, to $6.16 in afternoon trading.

 

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