|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 02/29/2016|
Inventory is valued at the lower of weighted average cost or market, and consists principally of fuel oil, coal and raw materials used to generate electricity or steam. The Company removes these inventories as they are used in the production of electricity or steam. Spare parts inventory is valued at a weighted average cost. The Company removes these inventories when they are used for repairs, maintenance or capital projects. The Company expects to recover the fuel oil, coal, raw materials, and spare parts costs in the ordinary course of business. Sales of inventory are classified as an operating activity in the consolidated statements of cash flows. Finished goods inventory is valued at the lower of cost or net realizable value with cost being determined on a first-in first-out basis. The Company removes these inventories as they are sold to customers. During the year ended December 31, 2015, the Company recorded a lower of weighted average cost or market adjustment of $19 million related to fuel oil.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Property, plant and equipment are stated at cost or, in the case of business acquisitions, fair value; however impairment adjustments are recorded whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that their carrying values may not be recoverable. See Note 3, Business Acquisitions and Dispositions, for more information on acquired property, plant and equipment. NRG also classifies nuclear fuel related to the Company's 44% ownership interest in STP as part of the Company's property, plant, and equipment. Significant additions or improvements extending asset lives are capitalized as incurred, while repairs and maintenance that do not improve or extend the life of the respective asset are charged to expense as incurred. Depreciation other than nuclear fuel is computed using the straight-line method, while nuclear fuel is amortized based on units of production over the estimated useful lives. Certain assets and their related accumulated depreciation amounts are adjusted for asset retirements and disposals with the resulting gain or loss included in cost of operations in the consolidated statements of operations.
Long-lived assets that are held and used are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate carrying values may not be recoverable. Such reviews are performed in accordance with ASC 360. An impairment loss is recognized if the total future estimated undiscounted cash flows expected from an asset are less than its carrying value. An impairment charge is measured by the difference between an asset's carrying amount and fair value with the difference recorded in operating costs and expenses in the statements of operations. Fair values are determined by a variety of valuation methods, including third-party appraisals, sales prices of similar assets and present value techniques.
Investments accounted for by the equity method are reviewed for impairment in accordance with ASC 323, Investments-Equity Method and Joint Ventures, or ASC 323, which requires that a loss in value of an investment that is other than a temporary decline should be recognized. The Company identifies and measures losses in the value of equity method investments based upon a comparison of fair value to carrying value.
For further discussion of these matters, refer to Note 10, Asset Impairments.
Development Activity Expenses and Capitalized Interest
Development activity expenses include project development costs, which are expensed in the preliminary stages of a project and capitalized when the project is deemed to be commercially viable. Commercial viability is determined by one or a series of actions including, among others, Board of Director approval pursuant to a formal project plan that subjects the Company to significant future obligations that can only be discharged by the use of a Company asset. When a project is available for operations, capitalized project development costs are reclassified to property, plant and equipment and amortized on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful life of the project's related assets. Capitalized costs are charged to expense if a project is abandoned or management otherwise determines the costs to be unrecoverable.
Development activity expenses also include selling, general, and administrative expenses associated with the current operations of certain developing businesses including residential solar, electric vehicles, waste-to-energy, carbon capture and other emerging technologies. The revenue associated with these businesses was immaterial for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013. When it is determined that a business will remain an ongoing part of the Company's operations or when operating revenues become material relative to the operating costs of the underlying business, the Company no longer classifies a business as a development activity. Beginning in 2014, the Company no longer classifies costs associated with residential solar or carbon capture as development activity expenses.
Interest incurred on funds borrowed to finance capital projects is capitalized until the project under construction is ready for its intended use. The amount of interest capitalized for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013, was $30 million, $29 million, and $64 million, respectively.