|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 02/29/2016|
CO2 Emissions — NRG emits CO2 when generating electricity at most of its facilities. The graphs presented below illustrate NRG's U.S. emissions of CO2 for 2013, 2014 and 2015. NRG anticipates reductions in its future emissions profile as the Company modernizes the fleet through repowering, improves generation efficiencies, and explores methods to capture CO2. By 2030, the Company's goal is to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50%, using 2014 as a baseline. From 2014 to 2015, the Company's CO2 emissions decreased from 102 million metric tons to approximately 86 million metric tons, representing a 16% reduction year over year. Factors leading to the decreased emissions include reductions in fleetwide annual net generation due to an overall decrease in market demand and a market-driven shift towards increased generation from natural gas over coal. The Company's goal is to reduce its CO2 emissions by 90% by 2050.
The effects from federal, regional or state regulation of GHGs on the Company's financial performance will depend on a number of factors, including the outcome of the legal challenges, regulatory design, level of GHG reductions, the availability of offsets, and the extent to which NRG would be entitled to receive CO2 emissions credits without having to purchase them in an auction or on the open market. Thereafter, under any such legislation or regulation, the impact on NRG would depend on the Company's level of success in developing and deploying low and no carbon technologies.
Byproducts, Wastes, Hazardous Materials and Contamination
In April 2015, the EPA finalized the rule regulating byproducts of coal combustion (e.g., ash and gypsum) as solid wastes under the RCRA. The Company is evaluating the impact of the new rule on its results of operations, financial condition and cash flows and has accrued its environmental and asset retirement obligations under the rule based on current estimates as of December 31, 2015.
Domestic Site Remediation Matters
Under certain federal, state and local environmental laws, a current or previous owner or operator of any facility, including an electric generating facility, may be required to investigate and remediate releases or threatened releases of hazardous or toxic substances or petroleum products at the facility. NRG may be responsible for property damage, personal injury and investigation and remediation costs incurred by a party in connection with hazardous material releases or threatened releases. These laws, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 as amended by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986, or SARA, impose liability without regard to whether the owner knew of or caused the presence of the hazardous substances, and the courts have interpreted liability under such laws to be strict (without fault) and joint and several. Cleanup obligations can often be triggered during the closure or decommissioning of a facility, in addition to spills during its operations. Further discussions of affected NRG sites can be found in Item 15 — Note 24, Environmental Matters, to the Consolidated Financial Statements.