Vanderbilt gets most power from the sun and other business news | Chattanooga Times Free Press

Vanderbilt gets most power from the sun and other business news | Chattanooga Times Free Press

Vanderbilt adds 300-acre solar farm

A new 35-megawatt solar farm began generating electricity in Bedford County, Tennessee, this week to supply about 70% of the power needs for Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

The 300-acre solar farm was developed and will be owned by the Silicon Ranch, which has built about 160 such utility-grade solar farms across the country, including the 50-acre solar farm at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. The new solar farm in Bedford County will deliver power to Vanderbilt through Nashville Electric Service under TVA’s Green Invest program.

Nashville-based Silicon Ranch hired more than 250 workers to build the $50 million solar facility.

Silicon Ranch founder Matt Kisber said the company acquired the site several years ago and donated 30 acres of its project site to the city of Shelbyville to help recruit Duksan Electera America Inc., which is investing $95 million to locate its first manufacturing facility in North America with more than 100 new jobs.

Kisber said Silicon Ranch is continuing to work to supply more solar power to Vanderbilt under TVA’s Green Invest program, which allows customers to meet sustainable goals by guaranteeing their power comes from renewable sources.

Amazon injury rate drops at warehouses

The overall injury rate at Amazon warehouses declined in the past year, according to two new analyses of injury data.

The Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of labor unions that has focused on working conditions at Amazon, analyzed data the company submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 2022. In a report released Wednesday, it found the overall injury rate at Amazon had decreased — from 7.9 injuries per 100 workers in 2021 to 7 injuries in 2022.

Amazon released its own safety report in March, mostly using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that showed a similar decline. Amazon reported its injury rate at U.S. facilities fell from 7.6 injuries per 200,000 working hours in 2021 to 6.7 injuries in 2022.

While Amazon touts this statistic as evidence that it has made strides on founder Jeff Bezos’ 2020 commitment to become “Earth’s safest place to work,” the Strategic Organizing Center said the data overall shows Amazon has “failed to make meaningful progress on worker safety.”

Max streaming service offered at $16 a month

Warner Bros. Discovery unveiled a streaming service Wednesday combining iconic HBO programming such as “The Sopranos” with a mix of unscripted TV series in a push to reap more subscribers from what so far has been a muddled media merger.

The $16-per-month service, called Max, will be released May 23 in the U.S. and automatically replace the company’s existing HBO Max service in what is being promised as a seamless transition.

The existing Discovery Plus app featuring reality and unscripted series such as “Fixer Upper” and “Naked and Afraid” from a collection of TV networks will continue to be offered. That’s even as all that programming is made available within the new Max app, which will be marketed with the tagline “The One To Watch.”

The transition comes a year after the completion of a roughly $43 billion deal that spun off the AT&T’s WarnerMedia Division — which includes HBO, CNN and TBS — into Discovery, whose stable includes the TLC, HGTV, Magnolia and Food networks.

Buffett successor prepared to lead

Billionaire Warren Buffett assured investors Wednesday that Berkshire Hathaway will be fine when he’s no longer around to lead the conglomerate.

Buffett said shareholders shouldn’t worry about the future of the company after Vice Chairman Greg Abel takes over because he will do a great job and Berkshire will still follow the same model of allowing its subsidiaries to largely run themselves while looking for other companies to buy with the substantial cash reserves it keeps on hand at all times.

“The problem for our board of directors is the day I’m not around and Greg’s running it, I am not giving him some envelope that tells him what to do next,” Buffett said. But Abel and Berkshire will still be ready to say within minutes whether they are interested in an acquisition and have the resources to do it.

Buffett said Berkshire is “so damn lucky” to have Abel ready to take over as CEO because there aren’t many executives like him out there. The 92-year-old has no plans to retire, but Abel has been designated as the successor for several years ever since Buffett’s partner Charlie Munger let it slip at the 2021 annual meeting. Abel already oversees all of Berkshire’s noninsurance businesses.

Buffett and Abel appeared together Wednesday on CNBC from Tokyo where they went this week to check up on several companies Berkshire invested in there in 2020 and promote the conglomerate Buffett leads.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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