Houston — NextEra Energy, whose generation subsidiary NextEra Energy Resources has one of the US' largest renewable portfolios, is becoming increasingly focused on growing the renewables footprint at its regulated utility, Florida Power & Light.
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In a first quarter of 2019 earnings call with analysts Tuesday, NextEra Energy executives said FPL's average number of customers had increased by 100,000 since Q1 2018, and the utility now serves more than 5 million customer accounts.
Capital expenditures by the Juno Beach, Florida-based utility totaled $1.1 billion in Q1, the parent company's chief financial officer said Tuesday.
"The full-year capital investments are expected to be between $5.7 billion and $6.1 billion," CFO Rebecca Kujawa said, "and FPL's regulatory capital employed increased by approximately 8.3% year over year."
The FPL utility is advancing what it calls its "30-by-30" plan to install more than 30 million solar panels by 2030. Kujawa told analysts that when the plan is completed FPL is expected to be "the largest utility owner and operator of solar in America."
She said FPL also announced in Q1 plans to replace two existing natural gas-fired steam generation units with a combined capacity of 1,650 MW, with renewable energy, including the world's largest solar-powered battery system, the 409-MW Manatee Energy Storage Center.
During Q1, FPL also brought online the 1,750-MW, gas-fired Okeechobee Clean Energy Center.
FPL ROUGHLY DOUBLE THE SIZE OF NEER
NextEra Energy said it had operating revenue of $3.85 billion in Q1, of which $2.62 billion came from FPL, while the company's generation arm, NextEra Energy Resources, or NEER as it is referred to by analysts, reported $1.24 billion of operating revenue, the parent company's consolidated statement of income said.
NEER, which owns a total of 13,554 net MW of wind generation and 2,318 net MW of solar generation, added 1,007 MW of contracted solar to its backlog in 2018, including its first co-located solar-with-battery facility, which is expected to enter service in Oregon in 2021. NEER is working with Portland General Electric on the project.
NEER has a total of 20,910 net MW of generation in operation, and its solar backlog is now 2,700 MW, and extends beyond 2020 into 2021. The company said that since federal solar tax benefits extend into the early 2020s it is safe harboring the projects for 2021 and beyond.
In the earnings presentation, NextEra also said that NEER's growth in Q1 was "partially offset by weak wind resources" at its existing generation facilities.
NEER measures actual wind speeds available for energy production for a stated period and compares that to a long-term average. In Q1, wind speeds were 85% of the long-term average in the western US, 90% in Texas and 93% in the Midwest, it said.
Overall, NEER saw wind speeds that were 91% of the long-term average in Q1, compared with 102% in Q1 2018. The company said in its presentation that a "1% change in the wind production index equates to roughly 3-4 cents of EPS for the balance of 2019."
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