NextEra Energy tasked an investment bank earlier this year with the job of running a low-key process to find a new owner for a stake in a U.S. coal-fired plant that it owns through one of its utility subsidiaries, Florida Power & Light.
Unlike in a normal sale process, however, the buyer would not be expected to pay NextEra for the stake.
The asset under the hammer is FPL’s 76% interest in unit four of the Robert W. Scherer Power Plant in Juliette, Ga., which represents a net generation capacity of 635 MW. Jacksonville Electric Authority owns the remaining 24% of the unit.
NextEra is working with Goldman Sachs on the potential divestment and the investment bank has been reaching out selectively to potential buyers.
Given the plant’s poor economic performance and future liabilities relating to environmental remediation work, NextEra is said to be offering to pay as much as $250 million to have someone else take the asset off its hands, says a person familiar with the situation.
A spokesperson for NextEra in Juno Beach, Fla., declined to comment. A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs in New York did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The situation is complicated by the fact that the plant’s other units are owned by several other companies, one of which, Georgia Power, manages and operates the whole plant and shared facilities.
“It’s a hugely complicated arrangement and there are not many people that have the stomach for it,” says the source.
FPL’s only other coal-fired asset is its 100% stake in the 330 MW Indiantown Cogeneration plant in Florida, which is due to be shuttered in 2021.
Separately, however, the NextEra group owns several coal-fired assets as a result of its acquisition of Gulf Power Co. from Southern Co., which closed on Jan. 1 (PFR, 5/24/18, 3/28/19).
The Gulf Power assets include a 25% stake in unit 3 of the Scherer plant, representing a net generation capacity of 205 MW. Georgia Power owns the other 75% of unit 3.
Units 1 and 2 of Scherer are owned by Oglethorpe Power (60%), MEAG (30.2%), Georgia Power (8.4%) and the City of Dalton (1.4%).