How Berkshire Hathaway Energy Escaped ‘The Coal Trap’ – Forbes

by | Sep 18, 2022 | Energy

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – JULY 15: Employees of SunEdison install photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of … [+] a Kohl’s Department Store on July 15, 2008 in Hillsborough, New Jersey. Company engineers estimate Kohl’s will be able to reduce their electricity usage on average by 25% once power begins flowing from the 1980 rooftop panels. Kohl’s signed a contract with SunEdison, based in Beltsville, Maryland, to receive electricity for 20 years at a reduced price from public utility rates. New Jersey is the nation’s second largest producer of solar energy behind California. State and federal tax incentives help individuals and commercial enterprises cover the costs of solar panel installations. SunEdison is North America’s largest solar energy service provider. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)Getty ImagesWarren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway
Energy purchased 2,000 acres in West Virginia, where the company will provide solar energy to an aerospace enterprise, creating as many as 1,000 jobs. The $500 million project is a potential magnet for similar businesses and helps to diversify the state’s economy and energy base.

Despite the optimism, economic expansion remains an uphill battle. West Virginia’s Public Service Commission is under the thumb of coal companies that still have political muscle. Examples abound, underscoring that point. The state’s citizens are paying more for electricity as a result, while their communities may forego growth.

Indeed, sustainability drives companies, and nearly all have carbon reduction goals. Their consumers, employees, and shareholders are demanding that of them. West Virginia’s prominent players — Procter & Gamble, Toyota Motor Corp., and Nucor
Corp.— are national leaders, cutting carbon by buying more renewables, deploying energy efficiency, and reducing waste.

“The people of West Virginia are ahead of their leaders,” says James Van Nostrand, Center for Energy & Sustaina …

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