NextEra Now More Valuable Than Exxon as Clean Power Eclipses Oil
(Bloomberg) -- NextEra Energy Inc., the world’s biggest provider of wind and solar energy, is now more valuable than oil giant Exxon Mobil Corp., once the largest public company on Earth.
NextEra ended Wednesday with market value of $145 billion, topping Exxon’s $142 billion. The oil major’s U.S. rival, Chevron Corp., also surpassed it in value for the first time.
The shift reflects a global energy transition that’s embracing clean energy and rejecting fossil fuels. NextEra has emerged as the world’s most valuable utility, largely by betting big on renewables, especially wind. Exxon has seen its fortunes shift in the other direction as electric vehicles become more widespread and the fight against climate change takes on more urgency.
“People believe that renewable energy is a growth story and that oil and gas is a declining story,” said Jigar Shah, co-founder of the green financier Generate.
NextEra had about 18 gigawatts of wind and solar farms at the end of last year, enough to power 13.5 million homes. And it’s expanding significantly, with contracts to add another 12 gigawatts of renewables. Its shares have surged more than 20% this year.
At the same time, Exxon’s shares have tumbled more than 50% as the pandemic quashed global demand for fuels. The company’s second-quarter loss was its worst of the modern era and, in August, Exxon was ejected from the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The company was worth $525 billion in 2007, more than three times its current value.
Investors have endorsed NextEra’s clean-energy strategy, with renewable energy becoming both mainstream and desirable. At least a dozen U.S. states have policies that will eventually mandate completely clean power grids, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has proposed a green electrical system in the U.S. within 15 years.
“It’s not a niche investment anymore,” said Kit Konolige, a utilities analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “It’s a big industry.”
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