NextEra expects to energize its Texas CREZ lines by end of 1Q13

NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) officials say construction of the company’s Lone Star Transmission projects in Texas continues on schedule and that the company remains on track to put the lines into operation later this quarter.

The prediction came from NextEra CFO Moray Dewhurst during the company’s 4Q12 earnings call Jan. 29. Lone Star Transmission is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy.

Lone Star is building the Scurry County South to West Shackelford, Sam Switch to Navarro, and West Shackelford to Navarro-Sam Switch projects, which are all components of the state’s competitive renewable energy zone (CREZ) transmission build-out.

The Scurry County South to West Shackelford project is a 103-mile, double-circuit, 345-kV transmission line that will begin in eastern Scurry County and terminate in Shackelford County, Texas.

The Sam Switch to Navarro transmission project is a 35-mile, single circuit 345-kV line on a double circuit capable tower arrangement.

West Shackelford to Navarro-Sam Switch is a 192-mile, 345-kV transmission line that originates at West Shackelford and terminates at the Sam Switchyard in Navarro County, Texas. Construction on the project recently resumed after a dispute about the project’s proximity to the site of a proposed regional airport was settled.

Following the lines’ energization, Dewhurst said the subsidiary will face new challenges.

“At Lone Star Transmission, our focus will be on successfully transitioning from construction to operations,” Dewhurst said, noting that overall, 2012 was the company’s “best year ever in terms of overall transmission and distribution reliability.”

NextEra Energy’s principal subsidiaries are Florida Power and Light (FPL) and NextEra Energy Resources, which is the company’s competitive energy business.

Overall, the company delivered what Dewhurst termed “solid financial results” in 2012, with GAAP net income of $1.9bn or $4.57 per share on an adjusted basis. While that was down 27 cents per share from 2011, he said that was not unexpected.

“The corporate and other segment benefited from a gain in consolidated income tax adjustments in 2011, which we did not expect to recur,” Dewhurst explained.

Looking further into 2013, Dewhurst said company officials are optimistic.

“We are pleased to see this growth given the difficult environment in 2012,” he said. “We expect to see more substantial growth in 2013 as some of the headwinds experienced in 2012 begin to subside and our new investments begin to contribute meaningfully to earnings.”