NextEra marks busy 2013 for power plant construction, re-construction

Florida-based NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE), in reporting on Jan. 28 its fourth quarter and full-year 2013 results, said it made progress last year on power projects in both its regulated and unregulated segments.

“NextEra Energy delivered solid results to finish the year as we executed well on the goals we set for the company,” said NextEra Energy Chairman and CEO James Robo. “At FPL, we completed the modernization of our Cape Canaveral facility, accelerated our storm hardening program and strengthened our electric grid, all of which help to provide our customers with greater efficiency and reliability, as well as the lowest typical residential bill in the state. At NextEra Energy Resources, we executed well on our solar construction program and signed more than 1,100 MW of wind power purchase agreements. Across the enterprise, we delivered great operational performance as well as terrific cost performance as we completed a very strong year.”

For 2013, adjusted earnings expectations exclude the gain on the sale of the Maine hydropower assets, a charge associated with the decision to sell merchant fossil assets in Maine, and charges associated with an impairment on a Spain solar project. All of these items relate primarily to the business of NextEra Energy Resources and its affiliated entities.

The main driver of the regulated Florida Power and Light (FPL) full-year 2013 earnings growth was the investments in clean and efficient power generation and other infrastructure projects that helped improve the company’s customer value proposition. Operationally, FPL’s fossil fleet set a new record for its fuel efficiency in 2013, bringing its system-wide fuel usage rate down to 7,657 British thermal units (BTU) per kilowatt hour, which is 23% better than the average fuel usage rate for the fossil industry. Since 2001, FPL’s fuel efficiency for its fossil fleet has improved by 21%, resulting in more than half a billion dollars in savings for customers in 2013.

FPL’s modernized Cape Canaveral gas-fired facility entered service in April 2013 ahead of schedule and about $100m under budget. The modernization of the gas-fired Riviera Beach facility is on budget and slightly ahead of schedule with an in-service date expected in the second quarter of 2014. The Port Everglades plant was decommissioned in July 2013, and construction of a modernized facility is under way with an expected in-service date by mid-2016. During the operating lifetimes of these three new, efficient power plants, the company estimates that customers will save more than $1bn in fuel and other costs, relative to avoided high-cost generation or purchased power.

Also in 2013, FPL successfully completed extended power uprates at its two nuclear facilities in Florida, adding more than 500 MW of total capacity at St. Lucie Units 1 and 2 and Turkey Point Units 3 and 4.

NextEra Energy Resources added approximately 375 MW of new U.S. and Canadian wind capacity to its portfolio in 2013, bringing the total wind portfolio to 10,210 MW. Also in 2013, the business reached wind production levels of nearly 30 million megawatt hours of generation, the highest level in the company’s history. In Canada, the company in September 2013 commissioned the 125-MW Summerhaven wind project.

The resources business expects to add between 2,000 MW and 2,500 MW of new contracted U.S. wind projects to its portfolio between 2013 and 2015, of which 1,425 MW are contracted or already placed into service. The business expects to add approximately 600 MW of new contracted Canadian wind projects to its portfolio between 2013 and 2015, all of which are contracted or already placed into service.

The business placed into service approximately 280 MW of contracted solar generation at its Desert Sunlight and Genesis facilities in 2013. Development of NextEra Energy Resources’ solar backlog remains on track, with approximately 800 MW of contracted solar capacity expected to come online by the end of 2016.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.