FPL Group has given its energy generation business a flashy new name, changing it from FPL Energy to NextEra Energy Resources. FPL, based in Juno Beach, Fla. said the new name better reflects the unit, which it said is the largest producer of wind and solar energy in North America.
The business, which also has natural-gas, nuclear and hydro power plants under its belt, operates more than 6.3 gigawatts of wind generation, along with 310 megawatts of solar thermal.
In better economic times, a name change could start the rumor mill going about possible bigger changes in the works, like FPL possibly spinning off its renewable energy arm. But more likely FPL is just putting its clean energy face forward, especially in light of the upcoming administration’s call for more clean technology in the U.S.
“There’s long been speculation of whether or not FPL Energy was going to be spun off,” said Tyler Tringas, a wind analyst at New Energy Finance, but he said that kind of move is unlikely in this current financial climate.
“The market conditions right now are pretty terrible for doing any kind of separate IPOs,” he said. “Also, in general, the valuations that the public markets are getting for comparable wind generators, like Iberdrola and Energias de Portugal, their renewable units, are just quite low.”
As for whether the new name could set the stage for an outright sale of the unit, that’s even more unlikely. “FPL is one of the stronger players in the U.S. renewables market at the moment,” said Tringas. “It’s much more likely that they would be the ones making acquisitions.”
Sometimes a name is just a name. But FPL, which stands for Florida Power & Light, probably also realized that there really shouldn’t be an “F” in FPL Energy at all. Of all the 63 wind farms and seven solar thermal facilities — and even including the natural gas, nuclear, and hydro plants — not one of them is actually in Florida.