NextEra Energy (NEE 0.37%) continues to lead the charge toward a more sustainable future. The utility is investing billions of dollars to eliminate carbon emissions from its operations and lead the transition to low carbon energy. This strategy is paying big dividends for investors, which was evident once again in its quarterly results.
Here's a look at the leading utility's second-quarter numbers and outlook for what's ahead.
A closer look at NextEra Energy's quarter
NextEra Energy generated nearly $1.6 billion, or $0.81 per share, of adjusted earnings in the second quarter. That was about 14% ahead of last year's second quarter, an exceptionally strong growth rate for a utility. NextEra delivered strong results at its electric utility (FPL) and within its energy resources segment.
FPL's earnings jumped 12% year over year, driven by the continued investment in its business. The utility invested another $1.9 billion in the quarter to serve its growing customer base -- it added 87,000 new customers over the past year -- and to enhance its utility operations. The company recently completed construction on the Dania Beach Clean Energy Century, which will reduce costs and carbon emissions.
Meanwhile, earnings within the energy resources segment soared by 19%. The main driver was the strong performance of its existing renewable-energy and storage portfolio. The energy resources business also continues to have success in securing new renewable-energy developments. It added over 2 gigawatts (GW) of new renewables and storage development projects to the backlog in the quarter. That included adding a net 1.2 GW of solar energy projects, its second-best quarter for new solar project additions in its history. This success in originating new project developments shows that demand for renewables isn't slowing down even with concerns about the economy growing.
A look at what's ahead for NextEra Energy
NextEra Energy's strong showing in the second quarter has the company on track to generate between $2.80 to $2.90 of adjusted earnings per share. That would put earnings up nearly 12% at the midpoint of its guidance range. Meanwhile, the company expects adjusted earnings to reach $3.45 to $3.70 per share by 2025, growing at the higher end of its 6% to 8% annual target range. This forecast should support dividend growth of around 10% annually through at least 2024.
One of the main factors powering the company's growth forecast is its renewable energy development pipeline. After adding over 2 GW of new projects to its backlog during the second quarter, the utility has about 19.6 GW of development projects. The company noted in its earnings release that this backlog "provides terrific visibility into the strong growth that is expected at NextEra Energy Resources over the next few years."
FPL also has lots of growth ahead. That entity is undertaking the largest solar energy expansion in the country. It currently generates 4 GW of solar power from about 15 million solar panels. By 2045, FPL expects to deploy hundreds of millions of solar panels, giving it the capacity to produce over 90 GW of solar energy. In addition, the utility expects to add more than 50 GW of battery storage capacity, up from 500 megawatts today, to help support its solar energy business by providing power when the sun isn't shining.
Powerful growth ahead
NextEra Energy is growing fast for a utility, especially considering that it's the largest in the traditionally slow-growing sector. It should be able to continue producing powerful returns in the coming years as it grows its earnings and dividend, which currently yields 2.2%. That makes it an excellent option for investors seeking growth and income from the high-upside renewable-energy industry.