Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and NextEra Energy and FPL undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances, including unanticipated events, after the date on which such statement is made, unless otherwise required by law. New factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained or implied in any forward-looking statement.
The following are some important factors that could have a significant impact on NextEra Energy's and FPL's operations and financial results, and could cause NextEra Energy's and FPL's actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those discussed or implied in the forward-looking statements:
NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s results of operation may be adversely affected by the extensive regulation of their businesses.
NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s financial performance could be negatively affected if FPL is unable to recover, in a timely manner, certain costs, a return on certain assets or an appropriate return on capital from its customers through regulated rates and cost recovery clauses.
- The operations of NextEra Energy and FPL are subject to complex and comprehensive federal, state and other regulation. This extensive regulatory framework, some but not all of which is more specifically identified in the following risk factors, regulates, among other things, NextEra Energy's and FPL's industry, rate and cost structure, operation of nuclear power facilities, construction and operation of generation, transmission and distribution facilities, acquisition, disposal, depreciation and amortization of assets and facilities, decommissioning costs, transmission reliability and present or prospective wholesale and retail competition. In their business planning and in the management of their operations, NextEra Energy and FPL must address the effects of regulation on their businesses and proposed changes in the regulatory framework. Significant changes in the nature of the regulation of NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s businesses could require changes to their business planning and management of their businesses and could adversely affect their results of operations and the value of their assets. NextEra Energy and FPL must periodically apply for licenses and permits from various local, state, federal and other regulatory authorities and abide by their respective orders. Should NextEra Energy or FPL be unsuccessful in obtaining necessary licenses or permits or should these regulatory authorities initiate any investigations or enforcement actions or impose penalties or disallowances on NextEra Energy or FPL, NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s businesses could be adversely affected. NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s results of operations also could be affected by FPL’s inability to negotiate or renegotiate franchise agreements on acceptable terms with municipalities and counties in Florida.
NextEra Energy and FPL are subject to federal regulatory compliance and proceedings which have significant compliance costs and expose them to substantial monetary penalties and other sanctions.
- FPL is a regulated entity subject to the jurisdiction of the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) over a wide range of business activities, including, among other items, the retail rates charged to its customers, the terms and conditions of its services, procurement of electricity for its customers, issuance of securities, transfers of some utility assets and facilities to affiliates, and aspects of the siting and operation of its generating plants and transmission and distribution systems for the sale of electric energy. The FPSC also has the authority to disallow recovery by FPL of costs that it considers excessive or imprudently incurred. The regulatory process, which may be adversely affected by the political, regulatory and economic environment in Florida and elsewhere, can restrict FPL’s ability to grow earnings and does not provide any assurance as to achievement of authorized or other earnings levels. NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected if FPL is unable to recover through retail base rates and cost recovery clauses any material amount of its costs in a timely manner, a return on certain assets or an appropriate return on capital.
- Decisions of the FPSC have been and, in the future, may be adversely affected by the political, regulatory and economic environment in Florida and elsewhere and may adversely affect the financial condition and results of operations of NextEra Energy and FPL. These decisions may require, for example, FPL to cancel or delay planned development activities and to reduce or delay other planned capital expenditures which could reduce the earnings potential of NextEra Energy and FPL.
NextEra Energy and FPL may be adversely affected by increased governmental and regulatory scrutiny or negative publicity
- In addition to the regulatory risks that may affect NextEra Energy and FPL discussed above, the extensive federal regulation of the operations of NextEra Energy and FPL exposes the companies to significant and increasing compliance costs. NextEra Energy and FPL also are subject to costs and other potentially adverse effects of regulatory investigations, proceedings, settlements, decisions and claims, including, among other items, potentially significant monetary penalties for non-compliance. As an example, under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, FPL and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (NextEra Energy Resources), as owners and operators of bulk power transmission systems and/or electric generation facilities, are subject to mandatory reliability standards. Compliance with these mandatory reliability standards may subject NextEra Energy and FPL to higher operating costs and may result in increased capital expenditures. If FPL or NextEra Energy Resources is found not to be in compliance with these standards, it may incur substantial monetary penalties and other sanctions.
NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s businesses are subject to risks associated with legislative and regulatory initiatives.
- From time to time, political and public sentiment may result in a significant amount of adverse press coverage and other adverse public statements affecting NextEra Energy and FPL. Adverse press coverage and other adverse statements may result in some type of investigation by regulators, legislators and law enforcement officials or in lawsuits. Responding to these investigations and lawsuits, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the proceeding, can divert the time and effort of NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s senior management from their businesses. Addressing any adverse publicity, governmental scrutiny and legal and enforcement proceedings is time consuming and expensive and, regardless of the factual basis for the assertions being made, can also have a negative impact on the reputation of NextEra Energy and FPL and on the morale and performance of their employees, which could adversely affect their businesses and results of operations.
NextEra Energy and FPL are subject to numerous environmental laws and regulations that require capital expenditures, increase their cost of operations and may expose them to liabilities.
- NextEra Energy and FPL operate in a changing market environment influenced by various legislative and regulatory initiatives, including, for example, initiatives regarding regulation, deregulation or restructuring of the energy industry and regulation of the commodities trading markets. NextEra Energy and its subsidiaries will need to adapt to any changes and may face increasing costs and competitive pressures in doing so. NextEra Energy Resources produces the majority of its electricity from clean and renewable fuels, such as nuclear, natural gas, and wind, operates in the competitive segment of the electric industry, has targeted the competitive segments of the electric industry for future growth and relies on the efficient operation of the commodities trading markets. NextEra Energy’s results of operations and growth prospects could be adversely affected as a result of future legislation or regulatory initiatives, including, but not limited to, those that reverse or restrict the competitive restructuring of the energy industry or the effective operation of the commodities trading markets.
NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s businesses could be negatively affected by federal or state laws or regulations mandating new or additional limits on the production of GHG emissions.
- NextEra Energy and FPL are subject to extensive federal, state, and local environmental statutes, rules, and regulations relating to air quality, water quality, climate change, greenhouse gas (GHG), including, but not limited to, carbon dioxide (CO 2) emissions, waste management, hazardous wastes, marine and wildlife mortality, natural resources, health, safety and renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that could, among other things, restrict the output of some existing facilities, limit the use of some fuels required for the production of electricity, require additional pollution control equipment, and otherwise increase costs. There are significant capital, operating and other costs associated with compliance with these environmental statutes, rules and regulations, and those costs could be even more significant in the future as a result of new legislation, the current trend toward more stringent standards, and stricter and more expansive application of existing environmental regulations. Violations of certain of these statutes, rules and regulations could expose NextEra Energy and FPL to third party disputes and potentially significant monetary and criminal penalties, as well as other sanctions for non-compliance.
The operation and maintenance of nuclear generation facilities involve risks that could result in fines or the closure of nuclear units owned by FPL or NextEra Energy Resources and in increased costs and capital expenditures.
- Federal or state laws or regulations may be adopted that would impose new or additional limits on GHG, including, but not limited to, CO 2 and methane, from electric generating units storing and combusting fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. The potential effects of such GHG emission limits on NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s electric generating units are subject to significant uncertainties based on, among other things, the timing of the implementation of any new requirements, the required levels of emission reductions, the nature of any market-based or tax-based mechanisms adopted to facilitate reductions, the relative availability of GHG emission reduction offsets, the development of cost-effective, commercial-scale carbon capture and storage technology and supporting regulations and liability mitigation measures, and the range of available compliance alternatives. While NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s electric generating units emit GHGs at a lower rate of emissions than most of the U.S. electric generation sector, the results of operations of NextEra Energy and FPL could be adversely affected to the extent that any new GHG emission limits, among other potential impacts:
- create substantial additional costs in the form of taxes or emission allowances;
- make some of NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s electric generating units uneconomical to operate in the long term;
- require significant capital investment in carbon capture and storage technology, fuel switching, or the replacement of high-emitting generation facilities with lower-emitting generation facilities; or
- affect the availability or cost of fossil fuels.
NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s operating results could suffer if they do not proceed with projects under development or are unable to complete the construction of, and capital improvements to, generation, transmission, distribution and other facilities on schedule and within budget.
- FPL and NextEra Energy Resources own, or hold undivided interests in, eight nuclear generation units in four states. The operation and maintenance of the facilities involve inherent risks, including, but not limited to, the following:
- The nuclear generation facilities are subject to environmental, health and financial risks, such as risks relating to site storage of spent nuclear fuel, the disposition of spent nuclear fuel, emissions of tritium and other radioactive elements in the event of a nuclear accident or failure or otherwise, the threat of a terrorist attack and other potential liabilities arising out of the ownership or operation of the facilities. Although FPL and NextEra Energy Resources maintain decommissioning funds and external insurance coverage which are intended to minimize the financial exposure to some of these risks, the cost of decommissioning the facilities could exceed the amount available in the decommissioning funds, and the liability and property damages could exceed the amount of insurance coverage. In the event of an incident at any nuclear reactor in the United States, FPL and NextEra Energy Resources could be assessed significant retrospective assessments and/or retrospective insurance premiums as a result of their participation in a secondary financial protection system and nuclear insurance mutual companies.
- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has broad authority to impose licensing and safety-related requirements for the construction, operation and maintenance of nuclear generation facilities. In the event of non-compliance, the NRC has the authority to impose fines or shut down a nuclear unit, or to take both of these actions, depending upon its assessment of the severity of the situation, until compliance is achieved. NRC orders or new regulations related to increased security measures and any future safety requirements promulgated by the NRC could require FPL and NextEra Energy Resources to incur substantial operating and capital expenditures at their nuclear generation facilities. In addition, any serious nuclear incident occurring at an FPL or NextEra Energy Resources plant could result in substantial remediation costs and other expenses. A major incident at a nuclear facility anywhere in the world could cause the NRC to limit or prohibit the operation or licensing of any domestic nuclear unit. An incident at a nuclear facility anywhere in the world also could cause the NRC to impose additional conditions or other requirements on the industry, which could increase costs and result in additional capital expenditures.
- The operating licenses for FPL’s and NextEra Energy Resources’ nuclear generation facilities, other than Duane Arnold Energy Center (Duane Arnold), extend through at least 2030. In 2008, NextEra Energy Resources applied to extend Duane Arnold’s operating license for an additional 20 years beyond its current expiration date of 2014. If the NRC does not renew the operating license for Duane Arnold or any of FPL’s or NextEra Energy Resources’ nuclear generation units cannot be operated through the end of their respective operating licenses, NextEra Energy’s or FPL’s results of operations could be adversely affected by increased depreciation rates, impairment charges and accelerated future decommissioning costs.
- Terrorist threats and increased public scrutiny of nuclear generation facilities could result in increased nuclear licensing or compliance costs which are difficult or impossible to predict.
The operation and maintenance of power generation, transmission and distribution facilities involve significant risks that could adversely affect the results of operations and financial condition of NextEra Energy and FPL.
- NextEra Energy and FPL may incur significant costs for development of projects, including, but not limited to, preliminary engineering, permitting, legal, and other expenses before it can be established whether a project is feasible, economically attractive, or capable of being financed. The ability of NextEra Energy and FPL to complete construction of, and capital improvement projects for, their generation, transmission, distribution and other facilities on schedule and within budget may be adversely affected by escalating costs for materials and labor and regulatory compliance, delays in obtaining permits and other approvals, disputes involving third parties, negative publicity, transmission interconnection issues and other factors or failures. If any development project or construction or capital improvement project is not completed or is delayed or subject to cost overruns, NextEra Energy's and FPL's operational and financial results may be adversely affected. In any such event, among other matters, NextEra Energy and FPL could be subject to additional costs, which may not be recoverable at FPL from ratepayers, termination payments under committed contracts, loss of tax credits or the write-off of their investment in the project.
- The operation and maintenance of power generation, transmission and distribution facilities involve many risks, such as those identified elsewhere in these risk factors and those arising due to:
- risks of start-up operations;
- failures in the supply, availability or transportation of fuel;
- the impact of unusual or adverse weather conditions, including, but not limited to, natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and droughts;
- performance below expected or contracted levels of output or efficiency;
- breakdown or failure of equipment, transmission and distribution lines or pipelines;
- availability of replacement equipment;
- risks of human injury from energized equipment;
- availability of adequate water resources and ability to satisfy water discharge requirements;
- inability to properly manage or mitigate known equipment defects throughout NextEra Energy’s and FPL’s generation fleets and transmission and distribution systems;
- use of new or unproven technology; and
- dependence on a specific fuel source.
The occurrence of any of these effects or events could result in, among other matters, lost revenues due to prolonged outages, increased expenses due to monetary penalties or fines, replacement equipment costs or an obligation to purchase or generate replacement power at potentially higher prices to meet contractual obligations. Insurance, warranties or performance guarantees may not cover any or all of the lost revenues or increased expenses. Breakdown or failure of an operating facility of NextEra Energy Resources, for example, may prevent NextEra Energy Resources from performing under applicable power sales agreements which, in some situations, could result in termination of the agreement or subject NextEra Energy Resources to liability for liquidated damages.