NextEra Energy, a pioneer in the development of renewable energy in the United States, plans to invest between $85 billion and $95 billion in energy storage and generation projects through 2025 in a bid to increase its share of an emerging $2 billion clean energy market.
The company’s principal subsidiaries are Florida Power and Light (FPL), the largest U.S. electric utility by number of customers and retail megawatt-hour sales, and NextEra Energy Resources, its competitive energy business that claims to be the leader worldwide in solar and wind power generation. and battery storage.
FPL, which closed the last of its coal-fired power plants in Florida in 2020, is investing heavily to expand utility-scale solar capacity and increasingly combining it with energy storage in a sunny state. At the end of 2021, it commissioned a 409 MW solar battery, the largest in the world.
Energy Resources plans to bring between 27.7 GW and 36.9 GW of energy storage, solar and wind capacity into commercial service from the beginning of this year until 2025.
This includes between 4.9 GW and 6.9 GW of energy storage, 14.3 GW to 18.5 GW of solar power and 8.3 GW to 10.7 GW of wind power, according to a presentation by the Chief Financial Officer Kirk Andrews at this week’s Barclays Energy-Power conference in New York.
Although it eclipses its renewable energy competitors in all statistical categories for backlog of signed contracts, development pipeline and project portfolio, and has the largest renewable energy performer, NextEra Energy Partners, the company has no apparent interest in offshore wind.
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Former CEO Jim Robo, who resigned earlier this year, said offshore wind was a “bad business” and “very expensive”, citing long development times and uncertain permit outcomes.
NextEra’s decarbonization strategy is to lead by example by executing the largest renewable energy build by a U.S. electric utility and striving to eliminate carbon emissions from its operations by 2045.
Energy Resources is working to leverage its so-called competitive advantages, or “differentiators” as NextEra calls them, to provide a one-stop-shop for clean energy solutions beyond the electric power sector to help decarbonize the national economy and reduce electricity costs.
These differentiators include the ability to leverage and augment the existing renewable energy portfolio, access to capital and balance sheet strength, advanced analytics that can enable superior site identification and design, and supply , purchasing power and a resilient supply chain.
According to company executives, the clean energy transition taking place in the United States is being accelerated by multiple renewable energy demand drivers – economic, regulatory and sustainable – that support NextEra’s decarbonization strategy.
“Renewables are not only the cheapest form of generation, they are deflationary and countercyclical,” Andrews said on a recent earnings call, adding that battery storage, solar and wind are also supporting. energy independence, help stimulate economic growth, including the creation of national jobs. .
“We continue to see strong market demand for renewables, particularly in light of the high gas and power price environment which we believe will persist into the future,” he said. he told analysts.
At the end of 2021, the United States had 210 GW of energy storage and renewable energy capacity and NextEra predicts that it will take a 17-fold increase to 3.55 TW (terawatts) to fully decarbonize the electricity grid of 2050. That’s 15 years later than the 2035 goal set by President Joe Biden.
The high penetration of renewables to decarbonize the power sector will result in 25-30% excess generation by 2050. The company estimates that this excess renewables could be used to make clean hydrogen to decarbonize other sectors of the economy.
NextEra estimates that full decarbonization of the US economy by mid-century, currently the largest in the world at $23 billion, would require a 33x growth in energy storage and renewables to 7 TW, a investment of approximately $4 billion.
“The expansion of renewables beyond the electricity sector alone is expected to double the total addressable market for renewables,” Andrews told the conference.
NextEra views the new federal climate law as significant, citing the 10-year extension of tax incentives for solar and wind power and the creation of new ones for clean hydrogen and self-sufficient storage. This gives the company – and the industry – increased long-term visibility and a huge opportunity for growth.