|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 02/29/2016|
Revisions to MISO Capacity Construct — On November 20, 2015, FERC issued a final order denying the Company’s request for rehearing of a 2012 FERC order approving the MISO capacity construct. The Company filed a petition for review of FERC’s decision with the D.C. Circuit on the grounds that FERC’s order denies merchant generators in MISO’s footprint any reasonable opportunity to recover their fixed costs. The eventual outcome of this proceeding could impact MISO’s attempts to redesign its capacity markets and thereby affect the value of NRG’s uncontracted assets within the MISO footprint.
Select Net Metering Developments — In California, the CPUC recently issued an order restructuring net energy metering credits. Central to this decision, the CPUC adopted the following for new rooftop systems: (1) continued to support full retail rates for rooftop solar systems for 20 years; (2) imposed some new minor charges on customers installing new systems and (3) mandated time-of-use, or TOU, retail rates, starting immediately. Today’s TOU rates generally support the economics of rooftop solar. However, the CPUC has initiated proceedings to develop new TOU rate designs that may lower daytime retail rates and unfavorably affect the economics of installed rooftop solar systems.
The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, or PUCN, recently revised the compensation structure for net energy metering rooftop solar customers to raise the amounts paid by these customers on utility bills. The Nevada decision applies to both new and existing solar systems without any grandfathering. However, the Nevada Commission recently agreed to a 12-year phase in for implementation of the new rates. The PUCN’s decision is currently being appealed.
Carlsbad Energy Center — On May 21, 2015, the CPUC approved the Carlsbad Energy Center PPTA for a nominally rated 500 MW five unit natural gas peaking plant. On December 7, 2015, three parties filed two petitions for a writ of review with the California Court of Appeal appealing the CPUC's decision. The petitions remain pending. Additionally, on July 30, 2015, the CEC approved an amendment to the design of the Carlsbad Energy Center. On September 22, 2015, the CEC granted rehearing of its decision approving the amendment to permit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, or CDFW, to file comments on the proposed decision. On November 12, 2015, the CEC issued an order on rehearing affirming its decision approving the amendment. No party appealed the CEC's decision.
Puente Power Project — On January 11, 2016, the CPUC issued a proposed decision by the assigned administrative law judge and an alternate proposed decision by Commissioner Florio addressing, in part, the resource adequacy purchase agreement, or RAPA, between SCE and NRG for the construction of the 262 MW natural gas peaking Puente Power Project. Both the proposed decision and the Florio alternate proposed decision would delay approval of the RAPA until after the CEC has acted on the permit filing for the Puente Power Project. On February 12, 2016, Commissioner Peterman issued an alternate proposed decision which would approve the RAPA without delay. The soonest the three proposed decisions can be taken up by the CPUC is during its March 17, 2016 business meeting.
NRG is subject to a wide range of environmental laws in the development, construction, ownership and operation of projects. These laws generally require that governmental permits and approvals be obtained before construction and during operation of power plants. NRG is also subject to laws regarding the protection of wildlife, including migratory birds, eagles and threatened and endangered species. Environmental laws have become increasingly stringent and NRG expects this trend to continue. The electric generation industry is facing new requirements regarding GHGs, combustion byproducts, water discharge and use, and threatened and endangered species. Future laws may require the addition of emissions controls or other environmental controls or impose restrictions on the operations of the Company's facilities, which could have a material effect on the Company's operations. Complying with environmental laws involves significant capital and operating expenses. NRG decides to invest capital for environmental controls based on the relative certainty of the requirements, an evaluation of compliance options, and the expected economic returns on capital.
A number of regulations with the potential to affect the Company and its facilities are in development, under review or have been recently promulgated by the EPA, including ESPS/NSPS for GHGs, NAAQS revisions and implementation and effluent guidelines. NRG is currently reviewing the outcome and any resulting impact of recently promulgated regulations and cannot fully predict such impact until legal challenges are resolved.