This morning, shareholders at NextEra Energy’s annual meeting in Oklahoma City voted 65% against a resolution that would have required the parent company of Florida Power & Light to produce annual reports on the risks and costs of sea level rise at its operations.
Shareholders Alan Farago and Lisa Versaci proposed the resolution because global warming and sea level rise are quantifiable. “NextEra Energy’s markets in Florida are arguably the most at risk in the nation from sea level rise. Assessing those risks for investors and ratepayers needs to happen now,” said Farago.
NextEra Energy recommended that shareholders vote against the proposed resolution. The company told shareholders that they do not need to be concerned with the rising sea and called the proposal a “waste of time and money.” The company also tried to prevent the resolution from being approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, writing among other points that it essentially can’t see that far into the future.
Furthermore, NextEra Energy told shareholders that sea level rise projections for the Turkey Point project under Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing review were developed in compliance with rigorous NRC requirements and processes, including relying on peer-reviewed data. Yesterday, the Company announced it had decided on a four-year “delay” in the permitting process.
Farago said, “The central fact is that Florida Power & Light’s primary service area is the eastern seaboard of Florida, which is highly vulnerable to sea level rise. It doesn’t matter if Florida Power & Light builds two new nuclear reactors, as it pledges to do in its NRC application, at 25 feet above sea level rise. With only a few feet of sea level rise, many areas surrounding the Turkey Point Nuclear Reactors will be under water. The big question the resolution seeks to clarify for investors: what will happen to not just the Nuclear Reactors, but to substations, the ability to service overheard distribution lines, and to markets for electricity. This is literally the elephant in the living room.”
Florida Power & Light is NextEra’s largest subsidiary. It provides electricity for 4.8 million ratepayers along Florida’s east coast, which makes the company and its shareholders extraordinarily vulnerable to the financial disruptions of climate change. The United Nations climate panel projects three feet of sea level rise, however, scientists behind a new study published in the journal Nature conclude that levels could actually rise nearly twice as much as previously predicted by the end of this century.