“Massively Disruptive”: Power Exec Warns of Wind, Solar Revolution

January 27, 2019


Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis:

Only one day after the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected that coal’s decline will slow, gas will dominate the future energy mix and that wind will peter out after the PTC ends, one of the nation’s largest and arguably its most successful power companies has a very different forecast for the future.

In NextEra Energy’s fourth quarter results call, CEO Jim Robo dropped another bombshell, with his statement that solar and wind plus storage will be cheaper than coal, oil or nuclear, that this will be “massively disruptive to the conventional fleet” and that it will provide opportunities for developers well through the next decade.

Robo’s exact math is that even after the federal tax credits expire, wind will be 2 – 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, large-scale solar will be 2.5 – 3 cents, and storage will add .5 – 1 cent. This would put these resources slightly below the current cost of natural gas-fired generation, without the uncertainty around fuel prices that is inherent to gas.

These comments came as NextEra announced a strong fourth quarter and full year 2018, including growing renewable energy development. NextEra Energy Resources, the company’s competitive power arm, put 326 MW of solar online, including 125 MW of distributed generation. This represents a more than 50% growth on 2017 installation levels, but the company is just getting started.

NextEra already holds contracts for 1,773 MW of solar projects expected to come online in 2019 and 2020. Underlying the uncertainty around project development, it says that it could put anywhere from around 900 MW to 3.3 GW online over the next two years. Beyond that, NextEra also has 1,521 MW of solar projects which are slated to come online after 2020.

The company’s energy storage development is also growing. While the company’s 37 MW of deployments in 2018 was only 23% larger than 2017, NextEra also has 50 MW of batteries planned for 2019-2020, and 415 in the post-2020 timeframe.


11 Responses to ““Massively Disruptive”: Power Exec Warns of Wind, Solar Revolution”

  1. John Says:

    Reblogged this on jpratt27 and commented:
    Bring it on.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    It would be interesting to know how much coal use is dependent on the fact that, unlike gas, it is very easy to transport and store, and also useful in even small amounts. It is crude, highish-density fuel that can be useful to low-wealth areas.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Not to be Captain Obvious, but coal was indeed the first fossil fuel to be used in quantity exactly because it’s “easy to transport and store, and also useful in even small amounts”. Before coal came wood—-for cooking, steam engines, heating, and industrial power but it was inferior—just couldn’t get enough of it.

      Things progressed through whale oil and petroleum to gas, and unfortunately coal is still the option too many places around the world are not phasing out.
      Believe Next Era and the “iffY” prognostications of IEEFA, if you want to be bright-sided, but watch the COAL figures for the whole planet if you want to see what’s really happening.

  3. redskylite Says:

    We are moving at speed to the “next Era” of energy supply. Hold on tight.

    “The cash injection from the founder of shared workspace giant WeWork will help fuel the rollout of Faraday Grid’s Exchanger technology, which helps manage the flow of electricity without a central management system – essentially creating a self-balancing energy grid.”


  4. Gingerbaker Says:

    Renewing and increasing those expiring Federal Tax Credits would be a darned good idea. Instead of just talking about them disappearing as a fait accompli.

  5. Terry Donte Says:

    Nobody has the capacity to replace the present fossil fuel plants capacity with stored power anytime in the next 50 years at least. The problem with wind and solar is you need a much bigger plant to replace any fossil fuel plant as the wind and sun do not run 24/7/365, at most current records have the average at around 30 percent of capacity. That means you need a plant 3 times larger than the same average energy output fossil or nuclear plant and storage to match. That of course does not count the problem you need power 100 percent of the time, not on some average. When somebody comes out with batteries and costs which can store the power and deliver it 24/7/365 than we can go into a new era of non fossil fuel power production. Tesla 18650 batteries in million item lots will not do that. Plenty of wind and solar power will come on line, until storage shows up, that power will be sometimes peaking and low usage period power not grid main line power.

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