Despite contractions in many sectors of the economy, clean energy is thriving. The numerous benefits to ratepayers, including lower fuel costs and a cleaner power supply, are two reasons why recent purchases of California-based wind projects by MidAmerican Renewables, a subsidiary of energy giant MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, are a good example.
It’s safe to say that the Berkshire Hathaway-owned company is in the business of making smart long-term decisions, and this transaction bodes well for the future of wind, despite the political battles over renewables taking place inside-the-beltway.
And it’s not just MidAmerican who has taken notice of clean energy’s promise: Google has invested at least $915 million in clean energy, and Goldman Sachs has committed $40 billion over the next decade, to name a few of the higher profile players in the game.
But if investors are ready to spend lots of money and are already putting cash down on wind and solar, then why aren’t we seeing more deals like the one MidAmerican made? The answer is simple: too often, there isn’t a way to get cheap, renewable energy to the businesses and households that need it because building the electricity transmission needed to deliver that power is challenged by a convoluted and parochial set of rules.
Fortunately, this wasn’t a problem for the MidAmerican wind projects, as one can see from their press release: “The projects will interconnect and utilize Southern California Edison’s Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project.”
You can be sure closing this deal would have been much more precarious if a high quality transmission infrastructure were not already in place.
These two wind projects are going to help Californians reach their aggressive 33% RPS, and they’re going to turn a profit for MidAmerican. More deals like this are ready to go through; more new projects are ready to begin. Investors are ready to dive in and smarter policies for building transmission would increase the likelihood that similar projects become a reality.
All we need is a new, modern grid to take us into a profitable, clean, renewable future.