- NextEra expects to build about 23-30 GW of new renewables between 2021 and 2024, including 12.15 to 17.3 GW in 2023 to 2024, "by far the largest expected two-year development program in our history," CEO Jim Robo said Tuesday during the company's Q4 2020 earnings call.
- The company's power development and marketing arm, NextEra Energy Resources, commissioned approximately 5,750 MW of new wind, solar and battery storage projects in 2020 while adding a net of nearly 7,000 MW to its renewables backlog, increasing it to a total of about 13,500 MW.
- Robo said he expects the company's renewable development program "to be further enhanced by an ability to attract new non-traditional customers, particularly in the commercial and industrial sector as improving renewable economics are increasingly aligned with corporate objectives to procure" clean energy.
NextEra is well positioned to capitalize on the growing focus on clean energy around the country, especially with the change in the White House, a fact that Robo reminded analysts about on Tuesday.
"We believe that we are in a terrific position to be able to capture a significant share of the market opportunities going forward, [in] what we continue to believe is the best renewable development environment we have ever seen," he said.
That confidence is reflected in the company's updated projections for renewable energy development.
"As a result of our tremendous progress in 2020 and our strong continued origination success, we are raising our 2021 to 2022 renewables development expectations to a range of 10,525 MW to 12,700 MW, which at the midpoint is approximately 3,500 MW above our previous expectations," NextEra Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Kujawa said on the call.
A key focus for NextEra is to grow its renewables and other offerings with commercial and industrial customers.
"We are positioning the business to be the preferred strategic partner with C&I customers," Robo said.
"And we are looking at the business in a holistic way where we can provide clean energy solutions across the board, it's wind, it's solar, it's storage, it's hydrogen, it's mobility … It's an energy management services capability. It's analytics. All the things we've done for decades, we could now offer to C&I customers and we've got a huge head start," he continued.
Kujawa further noted that NextEra Energy Resources is "in advanced discussions with a number of potential customers across the industrial landscape, including food processing, specialty chemicals and refineries, to continue to develop clean energy solutions for more efficient green production processes."
One potential project would use solar power to deliver green hydrogen as an industrial feedstock to a facility, with the solar also offsetting part of the plant's energy consumption.
In terms of upcoming projects, NextEra and its subsidiaries plan to:
- Place the 409 MW Manatee Energy Storage Center in service later this year. Robo said "it will be the world's largest integrated solar powered battery system" and is "part of the approximately $1 billion that NextEra Energy is investing in battery storage projects in 2021."
- Commission about 670 MW of additional capacity for Solar Together, the country's largest community solar program, in 2021, adding to the more than 1,100 MW already commissioned.
- Use a 12 MW solar array to produce green hydrogen to power a fuel cell that can provide electricity to the grid during periods of peak demand. The $20 million project joins a previously announced pilot project NextEra plans to propose at Florida Power and Light's Okeechobee Clean Energy Center, in terms of advancing its foray into the hydrogen sector.
While Robo expressed confidence about NextEra's prospects, he also echoed recent sentiments from state regulators and others regarding obstacles to more renewables.
"Probably the biggest inhibitor to renewables in this country is not consumer demand, or it is not interest on the part of the federal government or state governments to get renewable builds. It's not that customers don't want it. It is fundamentally broken processes with the [independent system operators] in terms of how they manage their queues and transmission, and just broadly transmission planning in this country," he said.
"And I think with the Biden administration and a new [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission], there is a new opportunity to fix that," he added.
NextEra announced adjusted earnings of $785 million, or $0.40 per share, for the final quarter of 2020, and $4.55 billion, or $2.31 per share, for 2020, a 10.5% increase over 2019. The adjusted earnings do not include a $1 to 1.2 billion after tax impairment charge NextEra took to account for ongoing delays and increased costs associated with construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, Robo noted.
For 2021, Kujawa said the company "expects adjusted earnings per share to be in a range of $2.40 to $2.54."