Buffett to unite Western power plants

Source: E&E • Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. plans to merge $26 billion in Western power plants, transmission lines and wind farms into a single market that would better manage supply and demand fluctuations and save utilities millions.

With California’s grid monitor, the new, united system could transmit electricity across seven states. Pending approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, beginning Oct. 1, the market would match hourly generator bids to supply, demand and transmission changes every five minutes.The 38 transmission operators in markets from Oregon to Nevada currently balance their territories manually every hour.”Instead of having these balkanized regions, you’d have resources from Idaho to Wyoming all flowing into one kind of large spot market,” said Sean Breiner, a market design analyst for San Ramon, Calif.-based energy trader Viasyn.

The energy crisis of a decade ago that caused mass blackouts and record prices has led public power agencies to oppose a Western-wide system (Doan/Malik, Bloomberg, June 4).