NextEra Energy developing 2.8GW of US battery storage through 2024

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A NextEra Energy Resources battery storage project. Image: NextEra Energy Resources.

US utility giant NextEra Energy added 1.84GW of renewables and energy storage projects to its backlog in Q2 2021, but its Energy Resources division reported a fiscal loss of US$315 million.

Of the 1.84GW NextEra Energy Resources added in the second quarter, roughly 1.45GW was new solar and 105MW was new energy storage. The clean energy business of NextEra also originated 310MW of solar-plus-storage facilities under its build-own-transfer unit, not included in the above additions.   

NextEra said its energy storage development programme includes 1,322MW of large-scale battery storage ranging in size from 25MW to 230MW in various US states with signed long-term contracts and a commercial operation date (COD) in 2022. The majority of those 16 projects are four-hour duration battery energy storage system (BESS) projects, with one three-hour project in Indiana and a two-hour project in Georgia, while the company also has 24MW of distributed generation storage under development for the 2021-2022 period.

For 2023-2024, the company said it already has 1,363MW of announced COD and long-term contracted large-scale BESS projects under development, ranging from 5MW to 400MW in various states of the US and a further 101MW of contracted but not yet announced projects. Again, the majority of these are set to be battery plants with four-hours storage duration, with a small handful of three-hour and again a single two-hour project. NextEra said it expects to sign between 1,650MW and 2,000MW of storage during the 2021-2022 period in total and between 2,700MW and 4,300MW of storage contracts during 2023-2024. 

Among highlights reported in announcing its quarterly results, NextEra pointed to battery component installation having begun on the Manatee Energy Storage Center in Florida by its subsidiary Florida Power & Light, which at 409MW / 900MWh is thought to be the largest battery system paired with an existing solar PV power plant under construction to date in the world. 

Its Energy Resources Development Programme now has 16.7GW in its backlog of total signed contracts. From 2021-2024, it expects to sign between 22.7GW and 30GW of new capacity, with the majority of this coming from solar.

But the division reported an overall Q2 2021 net loss on a GAAP basis of US$315 million, or US$0.16 per share, compared to net income of US$481 million, or US$0.24 per share, in Q2 2020.When adjusted, NextEra Energy Resources’ earnings for Q2 of 2021 were US$574 million, or US$0.29 per share, compared to US$531 million, or US$0.27 per share, in Q2 2020.

NextEra uses adjusted earnings internally for financial planning, analysis of performance, reporting of results to the board of directors and more. It excludes the effects of non-qualifying hedges.

Incorporating NextEra’s utility divisions, the company reported a slide in earnings per share from US$0.65 per share in Q2 2020 to US$0.13 per share in Q2 2021, a fall of some 80%. 

“We remain as enthusiastic as ever about our long-term growth prospects, and we will be disappointed if we are not able to deliver financial results at or near the top end of our adjusted earnings per share expectations ranges in 2021, 2022 and 2023,” said Jim Robo, chairman and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy.

NextEra expects adjusted earnings per share (EPS) growth in the range of 6% to 8% from 2021 adjusted EPS. Under GAAP methods, Energy Resources’ EPS fell from US$0.24 to US$0.16 from Q2 2020 to Q2 2021. When adjusted, however, it rose by US$0.02 over the same period.

NextEra expects 12-15% growth of its Energy Resources arm through to “at least” 2024.

NextEra has roughly 45.5GW of net generating capacity and has a planned investment portfolio of US$50-55 billion in US infrastructure projects.

This story first appeared on PV Tech

Additional reporting for by Andy Colthorpe. 

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