Michael Weiss: NextEra Energy’s Real Zero is a great step forward, but more needs to be done to reduce energy costs

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It will make Florida not only a national leader in clean energy but build a resilient economy where all Floridians can prosper.   

NextEra Energy, the parent company of Florida Power & Light, recently announced a highly laudable goal of eliminating its carbon emissions from its operations by 2045 on June 14, 2022.

National business association Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is encouraged by NextEra’s commitment to renewables such as solar, batteries, wind, and green hydrogen. As an industry group representing the companies developing and deploying these advanced energy technologies, we are particularly proud of NextEra’s forecast of creating up to 150,000 jobs and adding $15 billion to Florida’s annual gross domestic product through 2045 by making this energy transition.

The combination of renewable energy sources and new jobs has the power to lead Florida toward a cleaner and more reliable future that is more resilient to fluctuations in fossil fuel costs and to the natural disasters that often-hit Florida.

As a native Floridian, I know this resiliency will be crucial to protecting families from natural disasters and high energy costs in home budgets. That’s why we’re encouraging all Florida power generators to not only follow NextEra’s lead in striving for a zero-carbon future, but also asking them to do more to protect households from using more energy than they need to.

Technologies and software tools are available to decrease business and household energy use without asking people to use less A/C or impacting Floridians’ lifestyles.

Incentivizing customers to do activities like water heating, clothes drying, pool and spa filtering, and electric vehicle charging at times when the electric grid is least strained will reduce costs and improve reliability for all Floridians.

Regulators and elected officials can go even further in helping households reduce costs by incentivizing more adoption of cost and potentially lifesaving technologies like rooftop solar and battery storage. These technologies can help reduce the need to build large, expensive power plants while allowing Floridians to power their homes during natural disasters.

NextEra’s proposal, in addition to an increase in what are called “demand-side management practices” that allow for self-generation of power, will grow and green Florida’s economy for years to come.

It will make Florida not only a national leader in clean energy but build a resilient economy where all Floridians can prosper.


Michael J. Weiss is a policy principal at Advanced Energy Economy (AEE).

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