The hydrogen will then be used to replace some of the natural gas burned at FPL's Okeechobee Clean Energy Center in Florida.
Unlike blue hydrogen, which is created from fossil fuel sources, green hydrogen is made from non-fossil sources. The $65 million Okeechobee pilot project will "utilize solar energy that would have otherwise been clipped" to create green hydrogen to replace some natural gas, said Rebecca Kujawa, chief financial officer at NextEra — which last year briefly overtook ExxonMobil as the most valuable U.S. energy company.
Hydrogen burns like natural gas without carbon dioxide emissions and can be produced by separating water molecules using electricity. According to industry experts, surplus renewable electricity produced during hours of slack demand can power electrolysis machines to make hydrogen. The goal is to have a store of carbon-free energy that can be dispatched when demand is strongest.
"There's clearly an opportunity to displace the last 10 percent of the carbon emissions out of the electric sector by manufacturing hydrogen with renewables within the next five to 10 years," said NextEra Chairman, President and CEO James Robo. "This is a big strategic initiative for us, and we're going to drive it, and it's going to be very important for this company over the next decade."