NextEra Energy Q1 Results Boosted by Clean Energy Push

(Reuters) — NextEra Energy Inc. reported better-than-expected first-quarter results on Tuesday, boosted by the performance of its renewable energy unit.

NextEra, which generates more wind and solar energy than any other company in the world, said it is benefiting from a clean energy investment push that has received major public policy support in recent months and given it a buffer against natural gas price swings.

The Juno Beach, Florida-based company's clean energy unit, NextEra Energy Resources, added nearly 2,020 megawatts of new renewables and storage projects to its backlog in the first quarter.

Solar power has been among NextEra's biggest focuses. The company's regulated utility arm, Florida Power & Light Co, in the first quarter increased its solar portfolio to 4,600 megawatts, the largest of any utility in the country.

Florida Power & Light's recent annual 10-year site plan includes nearly 20 gigawatts of new solar, roughly doubling the amount in last year's approved plan.

"We believe the expansion of cost-effective solar and storage will provide a valuable hedge for our customers against volatile natural gas prices and meet the electricity demand of FPL's growing customer base," NextEra Energy's Chief Financial Officer Kirk Crews said on a call with investors.

Natural gas prices surged following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and have remained volatile since then.

NextEra executives say the company is also homing in on the development of green hydrogen, which recently received a boost from financial incentives created by President Joe Biden's climate-driven Inflation Reduction Act but expects its investment in the fuel to ramp up after 2026.

Capital investments at Florida Power & Light, the largest electric utility in the country, is expected to be between $8 billion and $9 billion in the current financial year.

The utility reported a net income of $1.1 billion, while its average number of customers increased by about 65,000.

"Despite surprisingly warm weather in Florida in Jan-Feb and consequent decreased natural gas generation, quarterly earnings were likely supported by customer base growth at FPL and new renewables at its clean energy unit", said Finam Holdings analyst Alex Kovalev.

On an adjusted basis, NextEra earned 84 cents per share in the quarter, compared with analysts' average estimate of 72 cents, according to Refinitiv data.

The company's revenue rose to $6.72 billion from $2.89 billion a year earlier, and beat estimates of $5.5 billion.

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