NextEra earnings call points to unprecedented growth as industry tailwinds strengthen

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NextEra Energy continues to grow its renewable energy portfolio as its wind, solar, and energy storage pipeline through 2024 reaches as much as 30 GW of capacity additions and repowerings.

On its second quarter earnings call, the company said that it had raised almost $3.3 billion in capital under a new green bond program called “NextEra Green.” A key aspect of the fund is that the company agreed to increase the interest rate paid to bondholders in the event that it fails to bring renewables online within two years of funding.

NextEra’s Energy Resources team’s development slide showed continued growth. The company added 1,840 MW of capacity in the quarter, including 285 MW of new wind and wind repowering, 1,450 MWac of solar, and 105 MW/420 MWh of battery storage.

NextEra said that the Biden administration extending the Safe Harbor window for solar power projects under construction suggests strong support for renewable legislation going forward. As a result of this extension, NextEra said it now has more than $2.2 billion of safe harbor wind and solar equipment, which could support as much as $45 billion of wind, solar ,and battery storage investments through 2024.

Solar+storage projects featured in at least two instances during the earnings call.

First, subsidiary FPL shut down its last coal power plant. The company suggested its generation is being replaced by solar construction within Florida, however, NextEra is still building gas plants on the plant’s local power grid.

Second, is a 310 MW solar+storage facility scheduled to replace a coal plant somewhere in the nation. NextEra didn’t mention the project name, but it had earlier announced  200 MW solar + 110 MW energy storage Paris Solar-Battery Park in Wisconsin.

The company’s contracted solar development pipeline chart now includes 4,232 MWac of solar scheduled for deployment in 2021-2022, with another 4,739 MWac to be deployed in 2023-2024 for a total of 8,971 MWac. By applying a DC:AC ratio of 1.25:1, then just over 11,200 MWdc should come from solar panels deployed at these sites.

The high end of NextEra’s expected solar power forecasts indicate a shot at 14,400 MWac/18,000 MWdc by end of 2024.

The largest solar project noted in NextEra’s queue is the two-stage Dunn’s Bridge BOT solar power plant of Indiana, with a capacity of 700 MWac. This project is expected to be coupled with 75 MW/225 MWh of energy storage capacity.

The energy storage program has contracted 2.81 GW/10.83 GWh of energy storage through 2024. The high end of NextEra’s 2024 energy storage forecast indicates a possible 225% increase over these contracted sites, for an approximate total of 24 GWh.

These high-end forecasts are important. At the beginning of the quarterly call, NextEra said that it had already met 75% of its low-end expectations for 2024, with more than three-and-a-half years to go. Add in multiple potential industry tailwinds — the Biden administration’s infrastructure package and record demand for renewable energy projects in states like California and Texas — and a picture of unprecedented growth may be emerging.

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