Making a Difference in Our Communities
Volunteering Our Time
At NextEra Energy, we take great pride in serving the communities in which we live and work. Our strongest link to the community is in our own employees, who donate thousands of hours annually to a wide range of projects that are close to their own hearts. In 2011, NextEra Energy employees dedicated more than 20,000 hours of time to various charitable organizations.
Power to Care Week
For the fourth year in a row, NextEra Energy employees, their friends and families fanned out throughout FPL's service territory for this massive community volunteer project. This year, more than 900 volunteers participated in 22 events in 10 Florida counties during the week of March 26-31, helping clean up beaches, landscape gardens, spruce up parks, paint homes and more.
Dollars for Doers
Company employees who volunteer at least 20 hours during a calendar year with a qualified 501(c)(3) organization can earn grants for the same organization thanks to NextEra Energy's Dollars for Doers program. Since 2009, more than 260 Dollars for Doers grants have helped to make a difference in our communities. Recipient organizations range from local Boys & Girls Clubs to other youth athletic associations and organizations like the Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary Foundation.
Record-Setting United Way Campaign
Since 2000, NextEra Energy and its employees have donated more than $36 million and countless hours of volunteer work to United Way to improve lives and build stronger communities. In 2011, our record-setting campaign raised more than $3 million in pledges, and employees used a new giving system that made it easier for them to target where their dollars are directed as well as to keep track and log their volunteer efforts. Each year, donations support programs that assist youth in gaining skills to achieve their full potential in school and life, help those in crisis meet basic needs for food, shelter and clothing, prepare individuals and their families to become financially stable, and connect residents to available and affordable health services.
Race for the Cure
In 2011, FPL was a presenting sponsor for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in West Palm Beach for the 14th consecutive year. The race, which raises funds to fight against breast cancer, has one of the highest levels of FPL participation of any single event in Florida. In 2010 and 2011, more than 1,500 NextEra Energy employees united to raise nearly $150,000 in West Palm Beach, Orlando, Fort Myers and Miami.
Community Care for the Elderly provides assistance to qualifying seniors aged 60 and over so they can remain in their homes or with their caregivers rather than relocating to institutional care living facilities. In 2011, FPL supported the Florida Council on Aging (FCOA) with funding from NextEra Energy shareholders. That assistance was matched by donations from partner organizations and individuals across the state. Together, these sponsorships enabled FCOA to conduct a grassroots advocacy campaign that helped increase funding for the program from the Florida Legislature.
Other Community Initiatives
NextEra Energy's charitable foundation donated $1.7 million in 2011 to projects and programs that contribute to the health and well-being of the people who live in the 35 counties FPL serves. FPL hosted Kettle Drives in several offices for the sixth straight year and we extended our support to many other groups, including: 211 Information and Referral Services, Alliance For Aging, Alzheimer's Association, American Red Cross, Children's Home Societies, Consumer Credit Counseling, Meals on Wheels, Retired Senior Volunteer Programs, and Senior Resource Alliance.
Education is Key to Our Future Success
Renewed Commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
At NextEra Energy, we remain committed to doing our share to ensure students are prepared for the 21st century global marketplace. Here are a few examples of how we are helping.
Solar Education in Schools: Given that we are the U.S. leader in solar energy generation, we're using solar education as a platform to help open young students' minds to the many benefits of this clean, abundant energy source. We've already trained nearly 250 teachers on the importance of utilizing a diversity of fuels, the use of math and science in the real world, and how innovative technologies and approaches to problems can help solve complex challenges such as energy independence. FPL has also donated solar installations or made grants to more than 100 schools to give students hands-on learning tools that help spark their interest in solar energy and promote creative thinking.
School Shows and Programs: Our employees visit schools and classrooms across the country to involve students in new learning experiences. One example is the "Kid Wind" program, which educates teachers on wind energy so they can help their students better understand the value of renewable energy resources. Additionally, FPL sponsors science shows that visit about 100,000 students a year to help young people understand both how energy is created and why it's important.
Mentoring in Middle Schools: In 2011, FPL launched a pilot mentoring program at a middle school in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Twenty-eight NextEra Energy employees delivered motivational talks to 900 students. The program was so well received that it will be expanded to reach an additional four schools in 2012.
Adopt-a-Classroom: In 2011, FPL launched a new partnership with Adopt-a-Classroom that enables NextEra Energy employees to help STEM teachers purchase much needed supplies for the classroom. More than 900 gifts were matched in 2011 with plans to expand the program for the upcoming school year.
On-Site Energy Education: Near three of our nuclear power plants, NextEra Energy operates very successful energy education centers. Thousands of students, teachers and interested parties visit these sites each year.
Spurring Competition in the Classroom: NextEra Energy Resources employees helped sponsor and judge a competition at William T. Dwyer High School in Florida. Students made their business case for constructing a hypothetical wind farm, based on analytic and other tools used in the actual business.
Educational Resources: Some of our programs are more broad-based, such as the kid-friendly web pages on the company website that provides games, activities and general energy information (http://NextEraEnergy.apogee.net/kids/).
Matching Gifts: Through NextEra Energy's Education Matching Gift program, full-time employees can donate up to $10,000 to any eligible school, and our foundation will match that contribution, dollar for dollar, up to a maximum of $50,000 annually per school.
Wind Technology Training: NextEra Energy Resources maintains partnerships with community colleges in Texas and Iowa to help the colleges develop the kind of training programs that result in qualified wind technicians. Texas State Technical College (Sweetwater) provides basic and intermediate electrical training for our technicians. North Iowa Area Community College (Mason City) provides hydraulics training to our technicians. We have made numerous hires from these and other community college programs in the last two years.
Foundation Support in Texas: We have also provided educational support in Texas through the Forney Education Leadership Foundation through annual donations amounting to $185,000 over the past eight years.
Skilled Worker Pipeline Program: FPL and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) collaborated with Indian River State College (IRSC), located near our St. Lucie nuclear power plant, and Miami Dade College (MDC), near our Turkey Point nuclear power plant. The partnership resulted in an associate's degree program designed to prepare students to become mechanical maintenance, electrical maintenance and instrument and control technicians. To date, 200 program graduates received employment or promotion with FPL.
Commitment to Diversity: MDC is ranked first nationally for number of degrees awarded to Hispanics and African-Americans. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recognizes the program's commitment to diversity and recently awarded a scholarship grant that will fund approximately 30 students' program tuition. The program ensures the requisite skilled workforce to support new reactors at our Turkey Point site, allows FPL to "grow its own" source of new and diverse workers, and supports our local community.
Dynamic Flow-Loop Simulator Project: With the support of the U.S. Department of Energy, vendors and the IBEW, FPL and Indian River State College are building a dynamic flow-loop simulator that includes pumps, valves, instruments and controls to illustrate the basic principles of thermodynamics, pressure and fluid flow, allowing the next generation of energy technicians to train on a fully functional device. FPL/IRSC STEM Summer Camps for middle and high school students will also use the simulator to capture interest in the energy sector. This device is featured in IRSC's new Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to STEM education with an emphasis on the energy sector.
Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training: IRSC, with the support of FPL, received a significant National Science Grant to become a Regional Center for Nuclear Education and Training (RCNET). The RCNET ensures the demand for skilled nuclear technicians is met in a unified, systematic way in the Southeastern United States. RCNET will accomplish this by creating a comprehensive turnkey curriculum for technician tracks, developing or enhancing training programs at the regional colleges, providing STEM career paths to higher education and undergraduate research, and providing remote access to expensive and unique training components.
Serving FPL Customers from a College Campus
In a unique partnership with Florida International University (FIU), FPL opened a university-based Customer Care Center in 2011. The student-staffed center is the first of its kind and will help support FPL's efforts to strengthen its talent pipeline for the future.
After on-campus information sessions and a rigorous interview process, 21 FIU students were selected to join FPL's team of 475 customer service representatives responsible for handling 30,000 calls on any given day. The student employees handle calls from FPL customers on topics including account balance, bill payment options and service inquiries.
NextEra Energy employs more than 670 FIU alumni, making the school one of its top suppliers of graduates.
Piloting Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Curricula
FPL has received a $5 million grant to help develop educational curricula to train college and university students in the growing fields of renewable energy and the Smart Grid. NextEra Energy employees, along with Smart Energy Grid Associates and various college and university partners, are working to develop the program, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2013.
Creating Economic Benefits for our Communities and Suppliers
Being a large and successful company enables us to benefit our communities in a variety of ways. These benefits include tax payments to localities, direct jobs, capital expenditures, and opportunities for countless suppliers large and small.
In Florida, NextEra Energy was the No. 1 taxpayer in 2011, paying more than $1 billion in taxes and business-related fees, including property taxes, use taxes, gross receipts taxes, and franchise fees. We were also the largest investor in Florida with $3.5 billion in spending on capital projects.
In property taxes alone, NextEra Energy paid $296 million to Florida governments in 2011. Property taxes are administered at the county level with all funds going directly into the communities the company serves. A breakdown of 2011 payments is as follows:
» 45.61 percent, or $135 million, went to local government in the form of support for county fire, police and other government services;
» 40.2 percent, or $119 million, went directly to schools;
» 11.15 percent, or $33 million, went to city governments; and
» 3.04 percent, or $9 million, went to other organizations such as water management districts.
Nationwide, NextEra Energy paid approximately $402 million in property taxes in 2011.
NextEra Energy also creates positive value in our communities by embracing a diverse business environment and promoting partnerships with qualified small businesses and minority- and women-owned businesses. From Oct. 1, 2010, through Sept. 30, 2011, small firms in Florida benefited from more than $138 million in contracts, minority-owned businesses nearly $52 million, and women-owned businesses $44 million. Moreover, on certain major construction projects we encourage prime suppliers to exercise reasonable efforts to seek and use local labor and other resources, whenever possible and cost effective.
Helping Grow Florida Jobs with Discounted Electric Service
FPL launched a new Economic Development office in 2011 to work with state and local economic development organizations to encourage job creation within our service territory and help boost our state's economy. To that end, and with the support of our regulators, FPL now offers a special "Economic Development Rate" for FPL business customers that commit to bringing jobs to the state. For more information on this new rate for new and expanding businesses, please go to: www.FPL.com/poweringflorida.
Engaging Our Customers and Other Stakeholders
Stakeholder engagement is a core activity across NextEra Energy. For decades, FPL has conducted community outreach to take into consideration the thoughts and concerns of citizens and community leaders. The company uses a variety of methods to gather and consider the input of interested parties prior to doing business in a community, and it continues these efforts as the projects transition from development to operation. Traditionally, these stakeholder groups have included residential and business customers, community organizations, government accounts, associations and non-profit organizations and, of course, our own employees.
This year, FPL created the Public Engagement Program (PEP). PEP's goal is to achieve stakeholder satisfaction and civic leadership by recruiting executives and employees of NextEra Energy and our subsidiaries to become involved in our communities. The program provides speakers from various areas of our company who make informative presentations to community organizations on issues facing our industry and impacting local communities. Through these speaking engagements, employees and executives build relationships and trust with our communities.
Our stakeholder engagement efforts take other forms as well. As part of the plant and transmission siting process within Miami-Dade County, for instance, FPL maintains an ongoing research drive to provide information about our projects and to address the communities' and customers' priorities. FPL provides project presentations to homeowners' associations, business and civic groups, environmental and other community organizations. Project representatives also make presentations and engage stakeholders at local workshops and conferences. Through a variety of outreach efforts, FPL continues to identify and respond to public and agency interests throughout the licensing process.
At the company's Nuclear Division and at NextEra Energy Resources, a comprehensive public affairs program reaches a wide range of stakeholders including legislators, regulators, opinion leaders, environmental organizations, academics, media and neighbors. Program activities range from site tours and speakers bureau appearances to collateral materials, community newsletters and targeted web content. Also at NextEra Energy Resources, a variety of methods is used to gather and consider the input of local residents and community leaders prior to doing business in a community for the first time. These efforts then continue as the projects transition from development to construction and operation.