The next era in energy: Biggest U.S. utility budgets $50b in infrastructure projects
- December 1, 2020: Vol. 7, Number 11

The next era in energy: Biggest U.S. utility budgets $50b in infrastructure projects

by Mike Consol

How many times have we heard energy companies profess their commitment to clean energy, only to make trifling efforts toward that goal? Enough times that we don’t take promises of that kind seriously anymore. Actions speak louder than paper-mache words in this case, which is why the accomplishments racked up by NewEra Energy — the nation’s most valuable energy company — are especially impressive and noteworthy.

The Florida-based utility, headed by chairman and CEO Jim Robo, has been investing heavily in large-scale renewable projects and has, by its own account, become the world’s leading producer of wind and solar power, and has another $50 billion in energy infrastructure projects scheduled through 2022, including solar farms and underground power lines to boost the resiliency of Florida’s hurricane-battered power grid. Already, NextEra’s market capitalization has zoomed to nearly $150 billion, while shareholder returns have been increased by 112 percent over the past three years, and 945 percent over the past 15 years.

The company, which promotes itself as the world’s largest utility, has two main businesses; one is Florida Power & Light, a utility serving more than 5 million Florida residents, and the other being NextEra Energy Resources, which builds and operates renewable energy projects, chiefly wind farms, though solar farms and nuclear generating stations are also part of its energy mix, along with gas pipelines and transmission lines. Hence, the company considers itself well-
positioned for a future in which more than half of U.S. states have already mandated that a certain share of their electricity generation must come from renewable sources.

Florida Power & Light currently has 14 new solar energy centers under construction in Florida, and is rumored to be circling North Carolina-based Duke Energy as a possible acquisition target. That would take NextEra’s generating capacity well beyond its current 45,900 megawatts.

NextEra has already reduced its dependency on foreign oil by 98 percent since 2001, though some of that reduction is attributable to natural gas produced by U.S. fracking companies, which NextEra has used to replace coal-fired plants with natural gas-fired plants.

The intermittent nature of some forms of renewable energy makes battery storage essential to keep electricity available on demand. To that end, NextEra has nearly 700 megawatts of battery storage projects expected to be online in California before the end of 2022, and is developing an additional 2,000 megawatts of battery storage projects with the potential to be deployed in 2023 and 2024.

One could argue NextEra Energy is living up to its name.


Mike Consol ( is editor of Real Assets Adviser. Follow him on Twitter @mikeconsol to read his latest postings.


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