The nation’s largest player in the field of renewable energy turned in an impressive performance in 2020 despite the economic challenges presented by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. NextEra Energy, based in Juno Beach, Florida, managed to expand its pipeline of renewable energy projects, including a green hydrogen production pilot project and a significant expansion of solar energy production in the face of a global pandemic and record-breaking hurricane activity.
In early October, NextEra briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil in market cap to become the most valuable energy company in the United States. And while Exxon Mobil’s share price has since increased to allow them to reclaim the title, NextEra’s achievement signaled confidence in the direction that the company is headed.
This month, NextEra picked up two prestigious industry awards: the company was named “Utility of the Year” by UtilityDive.com, a leading media outlet focusing exclusively on the utility industry, and NextEra was also named the winner of the S&P Global Platt Energy Transition Award for its leadership on efforts to transition away from high greenhouse-gas-emitting sources of energy. For that award, NextEra was selected over nine other worldwide finalists using criteria including reporting and reducing greenhouse gas impacts, transparent performance improvement targets, alignment with global energy transition commitments and innovations of leadership.
“We congratulate NextEra Energy for its win of the third annual Energy Transition Award,” said Martin Fraenkel, president of S&P Global Platts. “In a year that was so tumultuous, it was particularly impressive and heartening to see how this year’s group of winners re-organized around obstacles, forged ahead on ground-breaking technology, completed transformative deals and maintained focus on long-term energy sustainability.
Among the key performance metrics that allowed NextEra to stand out from the crowd: an announced target of 40% reduction in absolute emissions despite an expected doubling of generation over the period. NextEra currently reports that more than 50 percent of its generation is from zero- and near-zero-emitting energy sources.
Much of NextEra’s success is driven by Florida Power & Light, which has invested heavily in solar energy and green hydrogen projects. FPL is engaged in one of the largest solar expansions ever in the U.S., building out a 1,600 MW community solar program — the largest such program in the U.S. — and the company expects the final 600 MW in service sometime in 2021.