NextEra Energy plans $1 billion in battery storage projects

NextEra, the company building the largest hybrid renewable project in the U.S. in northwestern Oklahoma stunned the renewable energy industry Wednesday by stating it plans to spend $1 billion next year on battery storage projects.

Already building the 700 MW facility west of Enid, the company will use Skeleton Creek wind farm to serve 21 utility members and other customers of Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.

In announcing its first-quarter financial results this week, the company said not only has its renewables development unit been unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic but it might benefit by being able to acquire troubled projects.

NextEra expects to build around 5 gigawatts of renewables capacity this year, and it added another 1.6 gigawatts of wind, solar and storage to its pipeline during the first quarter. None of its 2020 projects are expected to be delayed.

The company also made a stunning, if not entirely surprising, prediction: It will spend $1 billion on battery projects next year. NextEra believes it will be the first company in the world to cross that threshold for energy storage investments in a single year according to a report by Greentech Media.

That investment will include the 409-megawatt Manatee Energy Storage Center in Florida that NextEra announced last year, which will be powered by solar panels and replaces a pair of aging natural-gas-fired plants.

In addition to building renewables through its Energy Resources development arm, NextEra is adding wind, solar and batteries through its regulated utilities, Florida Power & Light and Gulf Power. FPL alone expects to add more than 10 gigawatts of solar capacity during the 2020s as Florida’s solar market consolidates its position as one of the country’s most important.

Energy Resources reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of $529 million, or $1.08 per share, up from $467 million, or $0.90 per share in the year-ago period.

NextEra is the same company that canceled two western Oklahoma wind farm projects last year after it ran into opposition by the Defense Department and Oklahoma authorities because the projects would have interfered in low-level flight training for the Air Force.

Source: Greentech Media