JUNO BEACH, Fla., April 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- NextEra Energy, Inc., long one of the nation's cleanest electric power companies, recorded its lowest air emissions rates ever in 2010, the company announced today. NextEra Energy's emissions rates for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide also were significantly below national averages.
"It is fitting on Earth Day that we can announce we had our cleanest year ever in 2010. We are demonstrating every day that an electric power company can be clean and cost-effective at the same time," said NextEra Energy Chairman and CEO Lew Hay.
NextEra Energy's emissions rate for sulfur dioxide (SO2), a principal cause of acid rain, was 0.42 pounds per megawatt hour in 2010, or 85 percent below the U.S. electric sector average of 2.87 pounds per megawatt hour. The company's emissions rate for nitrogen oxides (NOx), which are a principal cause of smog, was 0.30 pounds per megawatt hour in 2010, or 77 percent below the industry average of 1.30 pounds per megawatt hour. And NextEra Energy's emissions rate for carbon dioxide (CO2), a principal cause of global climate change, was 621 pounds per megawatt hour in 2010, or 52 percent below the industry average of 1,289 pounds per megawatt hour.
Since 1990, NextEra Energy's generation fleet has grown by 249 percent. During that same period of time, its SO2 emissions rate has declined by 90 percent; its NOx emissions rate has declined by 91 percent; and its CO2 emissions rate has declined by 34 percent.
NextEra Energy's low emissions profile is partly a reflection of the fuel choices the company has made. Measured by capacity, the company's 2010 generation mix was:
The company's low emissions rate is also driven by the efficiency with which its generation fleet operates. The efficiency of power plants is measured by how much energy is required, in British thermal units (BTUs), to produce one kilowatt hour of electricity. NextEra Energy's fossil-fuel power plants were 21 percent more efficient than the U.S. electric power industry as a whole in 2010, using 7,991 BTUs to produce a kilowatt hour of electricity compared with an industry average of 10,060 BTUs. Another efficiency measure is the reliability of a power generation fleet – higher reliability means newer, cleaner and more efficient units run more often. NextEra Energy's fossil fleet operated with 99 percent reliability in 2010, compared with an average of 92 percent for other large utilities.
Through its subsidiary NextEra Energy Resources, NextEra Energy remained the largest wind-energy developer in the United States at the end of 2010, with 8,078 megawatts of capacity, and the second largest in the world. The company also remained the leading solar energy operator in the United States last year with 420 megawatts of capacity, including 110 megawatts in Florida. Overall, NextEra Energy has the second-largest generating fleet in the United States, with 42,588 megawatts of capacity.
Florida Power & Light Company, NextEra Energy's principal rate-regulated subsidiary, also has an emissions profile far cleaner than the average for the U.S. electric power industry. In 2010, FPL recorded an SO2 emissions rate 76 percent below the industry average, a NOx emissions rate 65 percent below the industry average, and a CO2 emissions rate 36 percent below the industry average. Despite having one of the cleanest generation fleets of any utility in the nation, FPL's typical residential customer bills were 24 percent below the national average at year-end 2010.
FPL currently obtains 67 percent of its electricity from clean-burning natural gas. Nuclear power, which produces no greenhouse gas emissions, is responsible for another 23 percent of power production. The generation of more than 67,000 megawatt hours of clean energy in 2010 from FPL's commercial-scale solar generation facilities in the Sunshine State avoided the emission of nearly 36,000 tons of CO2.
NextEra Energy's environmental stewardship extends beyond its leadership efforts on behalf of clean air. Progressive water management practices at FPL's new West County Energy Center are expected to result in significant benefits for the environment and nearby communities, avoiding the use of 8 billion gallons of potable-quality water in South Florida each year. That's equal to the amount of water used by approximately 50,000 Palm Beach County households annually. In addition, last November FPL re-opened the Barley Barber Swamp in Martin County, Fla., to viewing by the public. The 400-acre freshwater preserve is considered one of the finest remaining old-growth cypress swamps in Florida.
FPL also has a longstanding commitment to protecting wildlife. For more than 30 years, the company has protected and monitored sea turtles. In 2010, the company identified more than 7,350 loggerhead, green turtle and leatherback nests on its beaches, up from around 5,200 in 2009. And more than three decades after FPL created a unique habitat at its Turkey Point power plant south of Miami for the American crocodile, the species has recovered enough to be reclassified from "endangered" to "threatened" – one of only 18 species to do so in the last 35 years. Roughly 5,600 crocodiles have been hatched at the site since 1978.
Earlier this week, the headquarters building of NextEra Energy and its principal subsidiaries achieved the prestigious Gold-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance. One day earlier, NextEra Energy and FPL joined The Scripps Research Institute, one of America's most respected non-profit research organizations, and its Scripps Florida division to announce a cutting-edge collaboration focused on improving the economic viability of large-scale clean energy projects, increasing the output of next-generation renewable energy technologies, and enhancing the efficiency and storage capabilities of the nation's electric grid.
NextEra Energy, Inc.
NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE) is a leading clean energy company with 2010 revenues of more than $15 billion, nearly 43,000 megawatts of generating capacity, and approximately 15,000 employees in 28 states and Canada. Headquartered in Juno Beach, Fla., NextEra Energy's principal subsidiaries are NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which together with its affiliated entities is the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and Florida Power & Light Company, which serves approximately 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and is one of the largest rate-regulated electric utilities in the country. Through its subsidiaries, NextEra Energy collectively operates the third largest U.S. nuclear power generation fleet. For more information about NextEra Energy companies, visit these websites: www.NextEraEnergy.com, www.NextEraEnergyResources.com, www.FPL.com.
The environmental or green attributes attributable to the electric generation from NextEra Energy, Inc.'s facilities have been or likely will be sold or transferred to third parties, who are solely entitled to the reporting rights to all renewable energy credits, emissions reductions, offsets, allowances and the avoided emission of greenhouse gas pollutants that contribute to the actual or potential threat of altering the Earth's climate by trapping heat in the atmosphere (collectively, "Environmental Attributes"). In disclosing the information herein, NextEra Energy, Inc., is not claiming ownership of any Environmental Attributes for any purpose, including compliance with any federal or state law or reporting to any federal or state agency, or for any other present or future federal, state, local, international, foreign or voluntary emissions trading program.