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NextEra: Net-zero goal won’t raise costs for customers

NextEra's goal calls for clean energy investments to eliminate all Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions across its operations by no later than 2045. The company commits to eliminating carbon emissions without the need for offsets.

NextEra Energy has set a net-zero target that the utility giant says won’t raise costs for customers.

NextEra’s goal calls for clean energy investments to eliminate all Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions across its operations by no later than 2045. The company commits to eliminating carbon emissions without the need for offsets.

The “Real Zero” goal, as NextEra calls it, could add $15 billion in annual gross domestic product in Florida, the company said.

As the largest producer of electricity in the US, NextEra also aims to help decarbonize the U.S. power sector through continued investments in wind, solar, battery storage, green hydrogen, and other renewable energy developments.

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The plan uses NextEra’s 2005 emissions as a baseline, setting target reduction rates of 70% by 2025, 82% by 2030, 87% by 2035, and 94% by 2040.

“We’ve worked hard in developing Real Zero to ensure we have a credible technical pathway to achieve our goals and well-defined milestones every five years so we and all stakeholders can track our progress,” said John Ketchum, president and chief executive officer, NextEra Energy. “We’re part of an industry that is well-positioned to make the most progress in the elimination of carbon emissions and Real Zero is NextEra Energy’s goal to set a new standard for all power generators.”

The company is also intending to provide greater transparency to its scope 3 emissions, the indirect emissions throughout the value chain, by working with supply chain partners as well as customers on solutions to reduce and, ultimately, eliminate these emission sources.

Decarbonizing Florida Power & LightFlorida Power & Light’s Manatee Energy Storage Center was the largest energy storage project completed in 2021, according to S&P. (Courtesy: Florida Power & Light)

A significant portion of NextEra Energy’s plan to eliminate carbon emissions is designed to take place at Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), which is the nation’s largest electric utility serving over 12 million Floridians.

FPL’s goal is to significantly accelerate the transformation of its generation mix, reaching 36% decarbonized by 2025, 52% by 2030, 62% by 2035, and 83% by 2040, culminating in 100% decarbonized by no later than 2045.

FPL plans to reach these interim targets through further modernization of its generation fleet in Florida, which will be comprised of a diverse mix of solar, battery storage, existing nuclear, green hydrogen, and other renewable sources.

As natural gas generation is reduced, customers would benefit from increased cost certainty in their electric bills as fuel price volatility would decrease over time until it is a negligible factor by 2045, NextEra said.

By 2045, FPL would significantly expand its solar capacity, increasing the amount of solar generation on FPL’s system to more than 90,000 MW, and plans to increase battery storage capacity from 500 MW today to 50,000 MW.

Natural gas would be displaced by green hydrogen in some of FPL’s existing generating units. The plan calls for 16,000 MW of existing natural gas capacity to run on green hydrogen.

Renewable fuels, meanwhile, would provide reserve capacity for reliability purposes. FPL would be able to generate up to 6,000 MW of carbon-neutral power with renewable natural gas, which would comprise only 2.4% of the volume of natural gas presently used in FPL plants. 

“This isn’t a plan to plant trees or purchase offsets, but rather would be a complete elimination of our incremental carbon emissions in Florida to the benefit of our customers, a clean environment, and the state’s growing economy,” said Eric Silagy, chairman and chief executive officer, FPL.

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