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NextEra (NEE) Expands Transmission Operations in California

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NextEra Energy, Inc. NEE announced that its subsidiary NextEra Energy Transmission, LLC has completed the acquisition of Trans Bay Cable, LLC (TBC) from affiliates of Steelriver Infrastructure Fund North America.

The acquisition led to further expansion of the company’s transmission operations in California. TBC owns a 53-mile, high-voltage direct current underwater transmission cable system that extends from Pittsburg to San Francisco, CA. This underground transmission system, which was developed to increase resiliency of the electric grid in that region, supplies nearly 40% of the electricity used in San Francisco.

Importance of Transmission Lines

Transmission lines are an integral part of the electricity infrastructure. These are wires that are utilized to carry high-voltage electric power produced from plants to substations that ultimately deliver power to customers.

Members of the Edison Electric Institute have invested $20.8 billion in transmission infrastructure in 2016, and expect to invest an additional $90 billion through 2020 to make the transmission system more efficient as well as further increase resiliency of the grid. Transmission lines ensure 24x7 availability of electricity to different customers.

Long-Term Plans

NextEra has plans to invest $50-$55 billion through the 2019-2022 time period to strengthen existing operations. Of this amount, the company aims to invest $11.5-13.5 billion in transmission and distribution projects.

NextEra’s transmission and distribution expenditure is aimed at supporting growth, and improving system reliability and storm resiliency. As miles of transmission lines remain exposed to extreme weather conditions during the hurricane season, it becomes essential for utility operators to keep strengthening transmission and distribution channels.

NextEra, through its subsidiaries, currently owns and maintains more than 7,300 miles of transmission lines between 69 kilovolts and 500 kilovolts, and nearly 800 substations in North America. Courtesy of ongoing investments in acquisitions and organic development, NextEra Energy Transmission is expected to double operations by 2022.

Price Movement

In a year’s time, shares of NextEra have gained 22.7% compared with the industry’s 12.6% rally.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

NextEra currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same space are DTE Energy Company DTE, Entergy Corporation ETR and NorthWestern Corporation NWE. DTE Energy and Entergy carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), while NorthWestern Corp sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

DTE Energy, Entergy and NorthWestern Corp reported average positive earnings surprise of 12.24%, 21.88% and 18.74%, respectively, in the last four quarters.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for DTE Energy, Entergy and NorthWestern Corp for 2019 has moved up 0.3%, 0.6% and 5.6%, respectively, in the past 60 days.

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