- NextEra is doubling down on green hydrogen, with plans to build a 500-megawatt wind project to provide power to a hydrogen fuel cell company, the company noted Wednesday in a third quarter earnings call with analysts.
- The Florida-based energy giant said it continues to expand its wind portfolio as well, announcing on Wednesday's call a deal by its NextEra Energy Partners limited partnership to acquire a 100-megawatt wind project in California for $280 million, including taking on $150 million in existing project finance debt.
- Overall, NextEra said it has added more than 5,700 megawatts over the first nine months of 2021 to its backlog of renewable energy and storage projects. A large chunk of that — 2,160 megawatts — came during the third quarter, divided up between 1,240 megawatts of new wind projects, 515 megawatts of new solar projects and 345 megawatts of new storage assets.
NextEra's top executives, in comments to analysts, offered a bullish take on the prospects for green hydrogen.
The hydrogen fuel cell company that will be buying power from NextEra's planned 500 MW wind project plans to build a nearby hydrogen electrolyzer facility, said Rebecca Kujawa, executive vice president and CFO of NextEra Energy.
The wind farm will be capable of supplying all of the energy needs of the hydrogen facility.
The facility, in turn, would pump out green hydrogen that could then be sold to commercial and industrial companies looking to switch out gray hydrogen and fossil fuels, Kujawa said.
The project is just the first of a "lot more like that," with NextEra's interest extending beyond the renewable energy side of the green hydrogen equation to potentially investing "in the actual hydrogen production equipment such as the electrolyzer," she said.
NextEra is pulling for a green hydrogen production tax credit to be included in the final version of the budget reconciliation bill, Kujawa said.
The tax credit would really close "the gap between gray hydrogen and [the] green hydrogen alternative" while spurring growth in the nearer term, she said.
NextEra Energy Chairman and CEO Jim Robo told analysts that he remains "cautiously optimistic" that Congress will pass a long-term extension of renewable energy tax credits as part of the reconciliation bill.
He also sees the reconciliation bill providing support for "other types of clean energy" as well, including "hydrogen as standalone storage."
"We think it's an important part of the decarbonization of the US economy to accelerate that," Robo said.