June 19, 2018 Read More →

NextEra quietly builds world’s largest renewable energy company

The Wall Street Journal ($):

Who is the world’s largest operator of wind and solar farms? It’s also America’s most valuable power company. Still stumped? It’s by design.

“That is a marketing problem…that we foster intentionally,” Michael O’Sullivan, NextEra Energy Inc.’s head of renewable development, told University of Notre Dame students in 2015.

NextEra has been careful to build sites only after it has customers lined up, avoiding debt problems that sank rivals such as SunEdison Inc. And it has assiduously avoided the kind of claims of altruistic motives that are common among some green-energy companies.

NextEra, as America’s most valuable power company, has a market capitalization of $74 billion. In 2001, the company, formerly Florida Power & Light, was the 30th largest U.S. power company, with a $10.2 billion valuation. It said in 2017 federal filings it produced more megawatt-hours of electricity from wind and solar farms than any company in the world; regulatory documents suggest it is, indeed, a bigger wind and solar producer than its largest global competitors, in Europe and China.

The way it captured the lead in the renewables market has allowed NextEra to grow despite the fact that the electricity industry has struggled with flat demand for power. The U.S. government expects power companies to generate $4.8 billion in renewable-energy tax credits this year, and NextEra is poised to be the largest generator of them, selling some to other corporations interested in lowering their tax bills and using the rest to shrink its own.

More ($): How a Florida utility became the global king of green power

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