NextEra Energy plans to eliminate all its direct and indirect carbon emissions by 2045, partly by growing Florida Power & Light’s solar fleet to 90,000 MW and its energy storage capacity to 50,000 MW, the company said Tuesday.
NextEra said its FPL subsidiary can reach the goal without increasing its customers’ bills because renewable energy is often less expensive than existing and new fossil-fueled generation.
Outside Florida, NextEra aims to help decarbonize the utility and other sectors through its NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary. NextEra sees a roughly $4 trillion investment opportunity in decarbonizing the U.S. economy by 2050, a move that would require about 7,000 GW of renewables and storage, the company said in an investor presentation Tuesday.
NextEra’s plan to eliminate its scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions is the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction plan in the energy sector, according to the Juno Beach, Florida-based company.
Under its “Real Zero” plan, NextEra aims to cut its carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 70% by 2025, 82% by 2030, 87% by 2035 and 94% by 2040 before hitting zero emissions in 2045, without the use of carbon offsets.
In part, the plan centers on the low cost of wind, solar and storage.
NextEra estimates that wind coupled with storage will cost $25/MWh to $32/MWh later this decade while solar with storage will cost $30/MWh to $37/MWh, according to the investor presentation.
In comparison, NextEra expects electricity from existing natural gas-fired power plants will cost $35/MWh to $47/MWh and power from new combined cycle gas-fired plants will cost $56/MWh to $69/MWh, according to the presentation.
Despite disruptions to the solar sector driven by the Commerce Department’s investigation into solar imports, the recent jump in natural gas prices has made renewable energy even more cost competitive, according to NextEra. The levelized cost of existing natural gas-fired generation is up 63% in the last year compared to 16% for new solar, the company said.
Besides adding solar and storage at FPL, NextEra plans to convert 16,000 MW of existing natural gas units to run on “green” hydrogen.
“The conversion of these modern, efficient units to green hydrogen is expected to be a cost-effective solution for customers and their operation would serve as an important and diverse generation source,” NextEra said, noting the plan would avoid stranded generating assets.
FPL also intends to generate up to 6,000 MW using renewable natural gas made from biomass or other renewable resources.
FPL expects to continue operating its nuclear power plant fleet, which totals about 3,500 MW, the company said.
NextEra didn’t say how much its plan will cost, but the company expects to spend $85 billion to $95 billion on total capital expenditures from 2022 through 2025, according to the investor presentation.
The plan requires “constructive” governmental policies and incentives, and support from utility regulators, NextEra said.
NextEra said it intends to provide greater transparency to its scope 3 emissions – the indirect emissions throughout the value chain – by working with supply chain partners as well as customers to reduce and eliminate those emissions.