Berkshire Hathaway Is Taking Part In the Energy Transition

Source: By Nicholas Jasinski, Barron's • Posted: Sunday, May 7, 2023

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett and vice chairman Greg Abel addressed the conglomerate’s efforts to boost its participation in renewable energy generation at the conglomerate’s 2023 annual shareholders’ meeting in Omaha on Saturday.

“There’s no question there’s an energy transition going on,” said Abel, who oversees Berkshire’s non-insurance businesses, including Berkshire Hathaway Energy. He said the utility company is working to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% in 2030 relative to 2005 levels.

Berkshire Hathaway Energy is investing in windmills and other clean energy generation, plus extending transmission lines to more renewable energy sources, which by their nature are more distributed than traditional power plants.

“It’s a very, very good business opportunity for us,” Abel added.

Buffett said that the United States’ approach to renewable energy is overly fragmented, with different rules and regulations state by state and no society-wide organized effort. He drew a comparison to the World War II-era coordination between the federal government and American businesses to reorient the nation’s industrial economy to support the war effort.

“The capital is there, the people are there, the objective is obvious, we just don’t seem to be able to do it in peacetime,” Buffett said.