NextEra Energy CEO: Build Back Better is an ‘accelerator, not something that we would need’

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NextEra Energy Resources commissioned 3.8GW of renewables and energy storage in 2021. Image: NextEra Energy.

The CEO of US utility NextEra Energy has said that while he thinks it is “more likely than not” that the clean energy piece of the country’s Build Back Better (BBB) bill gets acted on this year, the company doesn’t need policy support included in the legislation to achieve its targets.

Speaking during a conference call following the publication of NextEra’s full-year earnings yesterday, Jim Robo said he thinks of BBB “as an accelerator, not as something that we would need” to deliver on earnings or backlog growth.

“I do think it’s more likely than not that the clean energy piece of BBB gets acted on this year,” said Robo, who NextEra Energy announced yesterday would be stepping down as CEO in March following nearly ten years at the helm.

Featuring clean energy and climate investments totalling US$555 billion, BBB features support for domestic PV manufacturers and expanded solar investment tax credits. After negotiations on passing the bill stalled at the end of last year, President Joe Biden revealed last week that he believes he can win support for the energy and environmental initiatives, saying he is confident of getting “big chunks” of the legislation signed into law.

NextEra Energy was among the more than 260 companies that signed a letter sent this week to congressional leadership, urging them to finalise negotiations on BBB as soon as possible. They said that US$2 billion is being lost in economic activity every month the bill is delayed.

Robo will be succeeded by John Ketchum, who is currently CEO of NextEra Energy Resources, the company’s clean energy business.

NextEra Energy Resources had a record year in 2021 for renewables and storage origination, adding approximately 7.2GW to its backlog and growing its backlog of signed contracts by nearly 25% year-over-year.

Having commissioned 3.8GW of solar, wind and energy storage projects last year, the clean energy unit is said to be “well on its way” to meeting its renewables development expectations to build around 23 – 30GW from 2021 to 2024.

In December, NextEra Energy’s Florida Power & Light (FPL) subsidiary completed work on the world’s largest battery energy storage system (BESS) to have been paired with solar PV, the Manatee Energy Storage Center in Florida. The 409MW / 900MWh BESS is co-located with a 74.5MW solar plant.

NextEra Energy’s 2021 adjusted earnings were up 10% year-on-year to US$5.02 billion, while operating revenues fell 5% to US$17.07 billion.

Conference call transcript from The Motley Fool.

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