MEHC seals NV Energy acquisition

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company (MEHC) has received final regulatory approvals to acquire NV Energy and immediately named a senior renewable energy executive as president of Nevada’s largest electric utility.

MEHC is 89.8% owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway holding company.

Paul Caudill, president of MidAmerican Solar, will work with NV Energy chief executive Michael Yackira and the local leadership team as part of a six-month executive transition. Yackira is scheduled to retire in June.

“I am excited to have Paul Caudill join the NV Energy management team,” Yackira says. “His leadership experience means he’s the right choice to help us ensure continued safe, reliable energy for Nevada customers, while helping us explore and invest in greater renewable energy generation options that will benefit the future of Nevada.”

MEHC chief executive Greg Abel, who proposed the acquisition to Buffett, believes that Nevada’s economy will rebound, and that the company can bring its expertise and capital to help develop the state’s vast solar resource.  NV Energy now has 1GW of renewable energy supply under contract.

Analysts say that Buffett loves the $5.6bn deal as a good fit with MEHC’s values and priorities, and a solid long-term investment with decent regulated returns. MEHC also owns utilities MidAmerican Energy Company, Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power.,

Abel recruited Caudill, who joined MEHC in January 2012 from Phoenix Solar’s US unit, where he was chief executive. He also has three decades experience in conventional utility-scale power generation, transmission and distribution. His arrival coincided with the creation of MidAmerican Renewables to support and manage MEHC’s ambitious push into the unregulated renewables market.

Based in Arizona, Caudill had been spearheading development of the massive 550MW (AC) Topaz and 579MW (AC) Solar Star I and II projects in California. Both will be among the world’s largest solar PV arrays when completed. MEHC also has a 49% stake in the 290MW (AC) Agua Caliente project in Arizona.

While it was not immediately clear if Caudill would succeed Yackira, his appointment is a clear sign that he has Abel’s confidence to successfully transition NV Energy into MEHC. Abel is among Buffett’s most trusted lieutenants.

“I’m confident that with the legacy Michael Yackira and his team have created and Paul Caudill’s leadership going forward, NV Energy will continue to produce great results for Nevada,” Abel says.

NV Energy will operate as a separate, locally managed company, and will continue to be headquartered in Las Vegas. It will continue to serve its 1.3 million electric and natural gas customers in Nevada.