JUNO BEACH, Fla., April 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- NextEra Energy Resources, LLC President and CEO and NextEra Energy Partners, LP President Rebecca Kujawa issued the following statement regarding today's announced agreement between the Department of Justice and ESI Energy, LLC, a NextEra Energy Resources affiliate, concerning eagle deaths at certain wind farms.
"Today, ESI Energy voluntarily entered into an agreement with the Department of Justice related to the accidental fatalities of eagles at certain wind farms owned and/or operated by NextEra Energy Resources and NextEra Energy Partners. We disagree with the government's underlying enforcement policy, which under most circumstances makes building and operating a wind farm into which certain birds may accidentally fly a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) – even when the wind farm was developed and sited in a way that sought to avoid avian wildlife collisions. The reality is building any structure, driving any vehicle, or flying any airplane carries with it a possibility that accidental eagle and other bird collisions may occur as a result of that activity.
"Unfortunately, the federal government, at odds with many states and a number of federal court decisions, has sought to criminalize unavoidable accidents related to collisions of birds into wind turbines while at the same time failing to address other activities that result in far greater numbers of accidental eagle and other bird mortalities.
"We have a long-standing and well-earned reputation for protecting our environment and positively co-existing with and supporting wildlife around our facilities, and we have never sited a wind turbine knowing an eagle would fly into it nor have we taken any action in disregard of federal law. In fact, our company makes significant efforts to avoid accidental collisions with bird populations, including eagles. Over the last 20 years, NextEra Energy has invested more than $150 million across the U.S. to support our avian impact mitigation efforts, including taking actions to mitigate avian interaction with our poles, wires and energy generation facilities. We believe that the wind energy industry, including NextEra Energy Resources, voluntarily does more than any other industry in seeking to minimize interactions with avian wildlife.
"However, the most expedient solution was to resolve this dispute and focus our attention on continuing to develop, build, and operate emissions-free wind energy centers for a lower carbon America built by good-paying American jobs. In order to put this issue behind us, ESI Energy agreed to plead guilty to three misdemeanors under the MBTA associated with accidental eagle fatalities at three of our subsidiary wind facilities in Wyoming and New Mexico. The MBTA is a 1918 statute that prohibits individuals and entities from pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or collecting most U.S. birds. NextEra Energy Resources has always maintained, and continues to believe, notwithstanding ESI's plea, that this statute was only intended to cover intentional behavior, like hunting and poaching of migratory birds. As recently as last year, the federal government had adopted regulations that codified that accidental collisions did not violate the MBTA.
"Also, as part of the resolution of this matter, ESI has agreed that a number of NextEra Energy Resources' and NextEra Energy Partners' wind facilities will apply for eagle 'take' permits under another federal statute, even though we believe that, like the MBTA, this law does not require a permit to cover unintentional collisions that occur when eagles fly into properly developed wind energy facilities.
"Compliance with the agreements, which includes, among other provisions, payment of a fixed amount and cost caps for compliance with the eagle management plan for a period of at least five years, is not expected to have a material impact on the business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects of NextEra Energy or NextEra Energy Partners. This resolution will resolve all past fatalities and provides a framework that will allow us to move forward without a continued threat related to these statutes.
"NextEra Energy Resources' goal has always been, and remains, to develop our projects in ways that will not damage wildlife populations, including eagle populations, and we hope that our resources committed as part of this resolution will be devoted to optimizing eagle conservation."
NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (together with its affiliated entities, "NextEra Energy Resources") is a clean energy leader and is one of the largest wholesale generators of electric power in the U.S., with approximately 24,600 megawatts of total net generating capacity, primarily in 38 states and Canada as of year-end 2021. NextEra Energy Resources, together with its affiliated entities, is the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun based on 2021 megawatt hours produced on a net generation basis, and a world leader in battery storage. The business operates clean, emissions-free nuclear power generation facilities in New Hampshire and Wisconsin as part of the NextEra Energy nuclear fleet. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.
NextEra Energy Partners, LP (NYSE: NEP) is a growth-oriented limited partnership formed by NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). NextEra Energy Partners acquires, manages and owns contracted clean energy projects with stable, long-term cash flows. Headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida, NextEra Energy Partners owns interests in geographically diverse wind, solar and energy storage projects in the U.S. as well as natural gas infrastructure assets in Texas and Pennsylvania. For more information about NextEra Energy Partners, please visit: www.NextEraEnergyPartners.com.
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical facts, but instead represent the current expectations of NextEra Energy, Inc. (together with its subsidiaries, NextEra Energy) regarding future operating results and other future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of NextEra Energy's control. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, among others, statements concerning future compliance with the agreements associated with the resolution of the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into eagle fatalities, including any related impacts to the business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects of NextEra Energy. In some cases, you can identify the forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as "will," "may result," "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "intend," "plan," "seek," "potential," "projection," "forecast," "predict," "goals," "target," "outlook," "should," "would" or similar words or expressions. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future performance. The future results of NextEra Energy and its business and financial condition are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, or may require it to limit or eliminate certain operations. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those discussed in this news release and the following: effects of extensive regulation of NextEra Energy's business operations; inability of NextEra Energy to recover in a timely manner any significant amount of costs, a return on certain assets or a reasonable return on invested capital through base rates, cost recovery clauses, other regulatory mechanisms or otherwise; impact of political, regulatory, operational and economic factors on regulatory decisions important to NextEra Energy; disallowance of cost recovery based on a finding of imprudent use of derivative instruments; effect of any reductions or modifications to, or elimination of, governmental incentives or policies that support utility scale renewable energy projects or the imposition of additional tax laws, tariffs, duties, policies or assessments on renewable energy or equipment necessary to generate it or deliver it; impact of new or revised laws, regulations, interpretations or constitutional ballot and regulatory initiatives on NextEra Energy; capital expenditures, increased operating costs and various liabilities attributable to environmental laws, regulations and other standards applicable to NextEra Energy; effects on NextEra Energy of federal or state laws or regulations mandating new or additional limits on the production of greenhouse gas emissions; exposure of NextEra Energy to significant and increasing compliance costs and substantial monetary penalties and other sanctions as a result of extensive federal regulation of its operations and businesses; effect on NextEra Energy of changes in tax laws, guidance or policies as well as in judgments and estimates used to determine tax-related asset and liability amounts; impact on NextEra Energy of adverse results of litigation; effect on NextEra Energy of failure to proceed with projects under development or inability to complete the construction of (or capital improvements to) electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, gas infrastructure facilities or other facilities on schedule or within budget; impact on development and operating activities of NextEra Energy resulting from risks related to project siting, planning, financing, construction, permitting, governmental approvals and the negotiation of project development agreements, as well as supply chain disruptions; risks involved in the operation and maintenance of electric generation, transmission and distribution facilities, gas infrastructure facilities, retail gas distribution system in Florida and other facilities; effect on NextEra Energy of a lack of growth or slower growth in the number of customers or in customer usage; impact on NextEra Energy of severe weather and other weather conditions; threats of terrorism and catastrophic events that could result from terrorism, cyberattacks or other attempts to disrupt NextEra Energy's business or the businesses of third parties; inability to obtain adequate insurance coverage for protection of NextEra Energy against significant losses and risk that insurance coverage does not provide protection against all significant losses; a prolonged period of low gas and oil prices could impact NextEra Energy's gas infrastructure business and cause NextEra Energy to delay or cancel certain gas infrastructure projects and could result in certain projects becoming impaired; risk of increased operating costs resulting from unfavorable supply costs necessary to provide full energy and capacity requirement services; inability or failure to manage properly or hedge effectively the commodity risk within its portfolio; effect of reductions in the liquidity of energy markets on NextEra Energy's ability to manage operational risks; effectiveness of NextEra Energy's risk management tools associated with its hedging and trading procedures to protect against significant losses, including the effect of unforeseen price variances from historical behavior; impact of unavailability or disruption of power transmission or commodity transportation facilities on sale and delivery of power or natural gas; exposure of NextEra Energy to credit and performance risk from customers, hedging counterparties and vendors; failure of counterparties to perform under derivative contracts or of requirement for NextEra Energy to post margin cash collateral under derivative contracts; failure or breach of NextEra Energy's information technology systems; risks to NextEra Energy's retail businesses from compromise of sensitive customer data; losses from volatility in the market values of derivative instruments and limited liquidity in over-the-counter markets; impact of negative publicity; inability to maintain, negotiate or renegotiate acceptable franchise agreements; occurrence of work strikes or stoppages and increasing personnel costs; NextEra Energy's ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions, including the effect of increased competition for acquisitions; environmental, health and financial risks associated with ownership and operation of nuclear generation facilities; liability of NextEra Energy for significant retrospective assessments and/or retrospective insurance premiums in the event of an incident at certain nuclear generation facilities; increased operating and capital expenditures and/or reduced revenues at nuclear generation facilities resulting from orders or new regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; inability to operate any of NextEra Energy's owned nuclear generation units through the end of their respective operating licenses; effect of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets or actions by third parties in connection with project-specific or other financing arrangements on NextEra Energy's ability to fund its liquidity and capital needs and meet its growth objectives; inability to maintain current credit ratings; impairment of liquidity from inability of credit providers to fund their credit commitments or to maintain their current credit ratings; poor market performance and other economic factors that could affect NextEra Energy's defined benefit pension plan's funded status; poor market performance and other risks to the asset values of nuclear decommissioning funds; changes in market value and other risks to certain of NextEra Energy's investments; effect of inability of NextEra Energy subsidiaries to pay upstream dividends or repay funds to NextEra Energy or of NextEra Energy's performance under guarantees of subsidiary obligations on NextEra Energy's ability to meet its financial obligations and to pay dividends on its common stock; the fact that the amount and timing of dividends payable on NextEra Energy's common stock, as well as the dividend policy approved by NextEra Energy's board of directors from time to time, and changes to that policy, are within the sole discretion of NextEra Energy's board of directors and, if declared and paid, dividends may be in amounts that are less than might be expected by shareholders; NextEra Energy Partners, LP's inability to access sources of capital on commercially reasonable terms could have an effect on its ability to consummate future acquisitions and on the value of NextEra Energy's limited partner interest in NextEra Energy Operating Partners, LP; effects of disruptions, uncertainty or volatility in the credit and capital markets on the market price of NextEra Energy's common stock; and the ultimate severity and duration of public health crises, epidemics and pandemics, and its effects on NextEra Energy's business. NextEra Energy discusses these and other risks and uncertainties in its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 and other Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, and this news release should be read in conjunction with such SEC filings. The forward-looking statements made in this news release are made only as of the date of this news release and NextEra Energy undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are not statements of historical facts, but instead represent the current expectations of NextEra Energy Partners, LP (together with its subsidiaries, NEP) regarding future operating results and other future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of NEP's control. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, among others, statements concerning future compliance with the agreements associated with the resolution of the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into eagle fatalities, including any related impacts to the business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects of NextEra Energy Partners. In some cases, you can identify the forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as "will," "may result," "expect," "anticipate," "believe," "intend," "plan," "seek," "aim," "potential," "projection," "forecast," "predict," "goals," "target," "outlook," "should," "would" or similar words or expressions. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are not a guarantee of future performance. The future results of NEP and its business and financial condition are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause NEP's actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties could require NEP to limit or eliminate certain operations. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following: NEP's ability to make cash distributions to its unitholders is affected by wind and solar conditions at its renewable energy projects; operation and maintenance of renewable energy projects and pipelines involve significant risks that could result in unplanned power outages, reduced output or capacity, personal injury or loss of life; NEP's business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects can be materially adversely affected by weather conditions, including, but not limited to, the impact of severe weather; NEP depends on certain of the renewable energy projects and pipelines in its portfolio for a substantial portion of its anticipated cash flows; NEP may pursue the repowering of wind projects or the expansion of natural gas pipelines that would require up-front capital expenditures and could expose NEP to project development risks; terrorist acts, cyberattacks or other similar events could impact NEP's projects, pipelines or surrounding areas and adversely affect its business; the ability of NEP to obtain insurance and the terms of any available insurance coverage could be materially adversely affected by international, national, state or local events and company-specific events, as well as the financial condition of insurers. NEP's insurance coverage does not provide protection against all significant losses; NEP relies on interconnection, transmission and other pipeline facilities of third parties to deliver energy from its renewable energy projects and to transport natural gas to and from its pipelines. If these facilities become unavailable, NEP's projects and pipelines may not be able to operate or deliver energy or may become partially or fully unavailable to transport natural gas; NEP's business is subject to liabilities and operating restrictions arising from environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, compliance with which may require significant capital expenditures, increase NEP's cost of operations and affect or limit its business plans; NEP's renewable energy projects or pipelines may be adversely affected by legislative changes or a failure to comply with applicable energy and pipeline regulations; Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) may claim certain immunities under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Mexican law, and the Texas pipeline entities' ability to sue or recover from Pemex for breach of contract may be limited and may be exacerbated if there is a deterioration in the economic relationship between the U.S. and Mexico; NEP does not own all of the land on which the projects in its portfolio are located and its use and enjoyment of the property may be adversely affected to the extent that there are any lienholders or land rights holders that have rights that are superior to NEP's rights or the U.S. Bureau of Land Management suspends its federal rights-of-way grants; NEP is subject to risks associated with litigation or administrative proceedings that could materially impact its operations, including, but not limited to, proceedings related to projects it acquires in the future; NEP's operations require NEP to comply with anti-corruption laws and regulations of the U.S. government and Mexico; NEP is subject to risks associated with its ownership interests in projects that are under construction, which could result in its inability to complete construction projects on time or at all, and make projects too expensive to complete or cause the return on an investment to be less than expected; NEP relies on a limited number of customers and is exposed to the risk that they may be unwilling or unable to fulfill their contractual obligations to NEP or that they otherwise terminate their agreements with NEP; NEP may not be able to extend, renew or replace expiring or terminated power purchase agreements (PPA), natural gas transportation agreements or other customer contracts at favorable rates or on a long-term basis; if the energy production by or availability of NEP's renewable energy projects is less than expected, they may not be able to satisfy minimum production or availability obligations under their PPAs; NEP's growth strategy depends on locating and acquiring interests in additional projects consistent with its business strategy at favorable prices; reductions in demand for natural gas in the United States or Mexico and low market prices of natural gas could materially adversely affect NEP's pipeline operations and cash flows; government laws, regulations and policies providing incentives and subsidies for clean energy could be changed, reduced or eliminated at any time and such changes may negatively impact NEP's growth strategy; NEP's growth strategy depends on the acquisition of projects developed by NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE) and third parties, which face risks related to project siting, financing, construction, permitting, the environment, governmental approvals and the negotiation of project development agreements; acquisitions of existing clean energy projects involve numerous risks; NEP may continue to acquire other sources of clean energy and may expand to include other types of assets. Any further acquisition of non-renewable energy projects may present unforeseen challenges and result in a competitive disadvantage relative to NEP's more-established competitors; NEP faces substantial competition primarily from regulated utilities, developers, independent power producers, pension funds and private equity funds for opportunities in North America; the natural gas pipeline industry is highly competitive, and increased competitive pressure could adversely affect NEP's business; NEP may not be able to access sources of capital on commercially reasonable terms, which would have a material adverse effect on its ability to consummate future acquisitions and pursue other growth opportunities; restrictions in NEP and its subsidiaries' financing agreements could adversely affect NEP's business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to make cash distributions to its unitholders; NEP's cash distributions to its unitholders may be reduced as a result of restrictions on NEP's subsidiaries' cash distributions to NEP under the terms of their indebtedness or other financing agreements; NEP's subsidiaries' substantial amount of indebtedness may adversely affect NEP's ability to operate its business, and its failure to comply with the terms of its subsidiaries' indebtedness could have a material adverse effect on NEP's financial condition; NEP is exposed to risks inherent in its use of interest rate swaps; widespread public health crises and epidemics or pandemics may have material adverse impacts on NEP's business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations and ability to make cash distributions to its unitholders; NEE has influence over NEP; under the cash sweep and credit support agreement, NEP receives credit support from NEE and its affiliates. NEP's subsidiaries may default under contracts or become subject to cash sweeps if credit support is terminated, if NEE or its affiliates fail to honor their obligations under credit support arrangements, or if NEE or another credit support provider ceases to satisfy creditworthiness requirements, and NEP will be required in certain circumstances to reimburse NEE for draws that are made on credit support; NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (NEER) or one of its affiliates is permitted to borrow funds received by NEP's subsidiaries and is obligated to return these funds only as needed to cover project costs and distributions or as demanded by NextEra Energy Operating Partners, LP (NEP OpCo). NEP's financial condition and ability to make distributions to its unitholders, as well as its ability to grow distributions in the future, is highly dependent on NEER's performance of its obligations to return all or a portion of these funds; NEER's right of first refusal may adversely affect NEP's ability to consummate future sales or to obtain favorable sale terms; NextEra Energy Partners GP, Inc. (NEP GP) and its affiliates may have conflicts of interest with NEP and have limited duties to NEP and its unitholders; NEP GP and its affiliates and the directors and officers of NEP are not restricted in their ability to compete with NEP, whose business is subject to certain restrictions; NEP may only terminate the Management Services Agreement among, NEP, NextEra Energy Management Partners, LP (NEE Management), NEP OpCo and NextEra Energy Operating Partners GP, LLC (NEP OpCo GP) under certain limited circumstances; if the agreements with NEE Management or NEER are terminated, NEP may be unable to contract with a substitute service provider on similar terms; NEP's arrangements with NEE limit NEE's potential liability, and NEP has agreed to indemnify NEE against claims that it may face in connection with such arrangements, which may lead NEE to assume greater risks when making decisions relating to NEP than it otherwise would if acting solely for its own account; NEP's ability to make distributions to its unitholders depends on the ability of NEP OpCo to make cash distributions to its limited partners; if NEP incurs material tax liabilities, NEP's distributions to its unitholders may be reduced, without any corresponding reduction in the amount of the IDR fee; holders of NEP's units may be subject to voting restrictions; NEP's partnership agreement replaces the fiduciary duties that NEP GP and NEP's directors and officers might have to holders of its common units with contractual standards governing their duties and the NYSE does not require a publicly traded limited partnership like NEP to comply with certain of its corporate governance requirements; NEP's partnership agreement restricts the remedies available to holders of NEP's common units for actions taken by NEP's directors or NEP GP that might otherwise constitute breaches of fiduciary duties; certain of NEP's actions require the consent of NEP GP; holders of NEP's common units currently cannot remove NEP GP without NEE's consent and provisions in NEP's partnership agreement may discourage or delay an acquisition of NEP that NEP unitholders may consider favorable; NEE's interest in NEP GP and the control of NEP GP may be transferred to a third party without unitholder consent; NEP may issue additional units without unitholder approval, which would dilute unitholder interests; reimbursements and fees owed to NEP GP and its affiliates for services provided to NEP or on NEP's behalf will reduce cash distributions from NEP OpCo and from NEP to NEP's unitholders, and there are no limits on the amount that NEP OpCo may be required to pay; increases in interest rates could adversely impact the price of NEP's common units, NEP's ability to issue equity or incur debt for acquisitions or other purposes and NEP's ability to make cash distributions to its unitholders; the liability of holders of NEP's units, which represent limited partnership interests in NEP, may not be limited if a court finds that unitholder action constitutes control of NEP's business; unitholders may have liability to repay distributions that were wrongfully distributed to them; the issuance of securities convertible into, or settleable with, common units may affect the market price for NEP's common units, will dilute common unitholders' ownership in NEP and may decrease the amount of cash available for distribution for each common unit; NEP's future tax liability may be greater than expected if NEP does not generate net operating losses (NOLs) sufficient to offset taxable income or if tax authorities challenge certain of NEP's tax positions; NEP's ability to use NOLs to offset future income may be limited; NEP will not have complete control over NEP's tax decisions; and, distributions to unitholders may be taxable as dividends. NEP discusses these and other risks and uncertainties in its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021 and other Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, and this news release should be read in conjunction with such SEC filings made through the date of this news release. The forward-looking statements made in this news release are made only as of the date of this news release and NEP undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
SOURCE NextEra Energy Resources, LLC; NextEra Energy Partners, LP