NextEra’s plan to ditch carbon is a huge bet on hydrogen

NextEra Energy Inc.’s plan to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 without relying on carbon-capture systems or offsets marks one of the biggest bets yet to make hydrogen a central piece of the energy landscape.  

The company, which operates Florida Power & Light and owns one of the world’s largest developers of wind and solar power, wants to convert more than two-thirds of its natural gas power plants to run on hydrogen. The fuel, in this case, would be produced by renewable energy with devices called electrolyzers. In addition, NextEra is looking to become a leader in producing hydrogen and developing infrastructure so it can be used to decarbonize power plants, transportation and heavy industry across the country.

To achieve its clean-energy targets, the Juno Beach, Florida-based company also plans to deploy massive amounts of solar and battery storage. Yet it’s NextEra’s hydrogen ambitions that will likely face the biggest technical and financial hurdles. Hydrogen, which doesn’t emit carbon dioxide when burned, costs multiple times more to produce using renewable sources and very little is produced this way now. Another concern is the amount of energy lost when electricity is used to make hydrogen that is then used to produce power. 

Expensive upgrades will need to be made to NextEra’s natural gas pipelines and turbines if they are to use pure hydrogen without leaks or other safety issues.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

This article is brought to you by the Bloomberg newswire. 

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