Buffett's Midwest utility places major new bet on wind power
In a bold move characteristic of its billionaire owner, Warren Buffett, MidAmerican Energy Co. this week said it would add 1,050 megawatts of wind power to its already extensive wind holdings in Iowa by the end of 2015. The $1.9 billion investment, billed as the largest economic development project ever in Iowa, follows a trajectory set by Des Moines-based MidAmerican several years ago when it pledged to become one of the world's most aggressive utility deployers of renewable energy.
Do we need a better yardstick to measure severe droughts?
After more than a decade, the U.S. Drought Monitor might be due for a tuneup. As Illinois' State Climatologist Jim Angel puts it, it's like the scene in the 1984 parody of hard rock documentaries "This Is Spinal Tap" in which heavy metal guitarist Nigel Tufnel shows off his amplifiers with volume knobs that go up to 11. Tufnel's amplifiers, he brags to the filmmaker in the spoof, give his guitars that ear-splitting "extra push off the cliff" compared with traditional amps that only reach 10.