Juno Beach, Fla., April 25, 2011 — NextEra Energy recorded its lowest air emissions rates ever in 2010, the company announced. NextEra Energy's emissions rates for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide also were below national averages.
NextEra Energy's emissions rate for sulfur dioxide, a principal cause of acid rain, was 0.42 pounds per MWh in 2010, or 85 percent below the U.S. electric sector average of 2.87 pounds per MWh.
The company's emissions rate for nitrogen oxides, which are a principal cause of smog, was 0.30 pounds per MWh in 2010, or 77 percent below the industry average of 1.30 pounds per MWh. And NextEra Energy's emissions rate for carbon dioxide, a principal cause of global climate change, was 621 pounds per MWh in 2010, or 52 percent below the industry average of 1,289 pounds per MWh.
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: 53.5 percent natural gas, 19.5 percent wind, 12.9 percent nuclear, 10.7 percent oil, 2.1 percent coal, .8 percent hydropower and .4 percent solar.
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 kWh 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 kWh 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 MW 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 MW of capacity, including 110 MW in Florida. Overall, NextEra Energy has the second-largest generating fleet in the United States, with 42,588 MW of capacity.
Florida Power & Light Co., 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 MWhs 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.