|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 02/29/2016|
Burton Island Old Ash Landfill — In January 2006, NRG's Indian River Power LLC was notified that it may be a potentially responsible party with respect to Burton Island Old Ash Landfill, a historic captive landfill located at the Indian River facility. On October 1, 2007, NRG signed an agreement with DNREC to investigate the site through the Voluntary Clean-up Program. On February 4, 2008, DNREC issued findings that no further action was required in relation to surface water and that a previously planned shoreline stabilization project would satisfactorily address shoreline erosion. The landfill itself required a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study to determine the type and scope of any additional required work. DNREC approved the Feasibility Study in December 2012. In January 2013, DNREC proposed a remediation plan based on the Feasibility Study. The remediation plan was approved in October 2013. In December 2015, DNREC approved the Company's remediation design and the Company's Long Term Stewardship Plan. The cost of completing the work required by the approved remediation plan is consistent with amounts previously budgeted.
Additionally, on May 29, 2008, DNREC requested that NRG's Indian River Power LLC participate in the development and performance of a Natural Resource Damage Assessment at the Burton Island Old Ash Landfill. NRG is currently working with DNREC and other trustees to close out the assessment process.
Maryland Environmental Regulations — In December 2014, MDE proposed a regulation regarding NOx emissions from coal-fired electric generating units, which had it been finalized would have required by 2020 the Company (at each of the three Dickerson coal-fired units and the Chalk Point coal-fired unit that does not have an SCR) to either (1) install and operate an SCR; (2) retire the unit; or (3) convert the fuel source from coal to natural gas. In early 2015, the State of Maryland decided not to finalize the regulation as proposed. In November 2015, MDE finalized revised regulations to address future NOx reductions, which although more stringent than previous regulations, will not cause the Company to spend capital to comply. As a result of the new regulations, on February 29, 2016, NRG notified PJM that it was withdrawing the standing deactivation notices for Dickerson Units 1, 2 and 3 and Chalk Point Units 1 and 2.
RGGI — The Company operates generating units in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York that are subject to RGGI, which is a regional cap and trade system. In 2013, each of these states finalized a rule that reduced and will continue to reduce the number of allowances, which the Company believes will increase the price of each allowance. The nine RGGI states are re-evaluating the program and may alter the rules to further reduce the number of allowances. The 2013 rules and/or revisions being currently contemplated could adversely impact NRG's results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Gulf Coast Region
Illinois Union Insurance Company Litigation — On October 2, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana issued an order granting LaGen’s motion for summary judgment on its claims for declaratory judgment and breach of contract against ILU for its failure to indemnify LaGen for the costs LaGen paid pursuant to the consent decree that resolved the NSR lawsuit which was brought by the U.S. EPA and LA DEQ against LaGen related to Big Cajun II. The court entered judgment in favor of LaGen for approximately $27 million. In addition, the court ruled that LaGen is entitled to approximately $7 million for future consent decree costs as they are incurred. On October 14, 2015, ILU filed a motion to stay execution of the judgment, which was granted on October 19, 2015. Also, on October 14, 2015, ILU filed a notice to appeal the judgment. On January 14, 2016, the U.S. District Court granted LaGen's motion for attorney's fees of approximately $2 million for the indemnity phase of the litigation. On January 29, 2016, ILU filed their appeal brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Texas Regional Haze — In January 2016, the EPA promulgated a final rule that requires 15 coal-fired units (at eight plants in Texas) to reduce their SO2 rates at various times over the next five years. This Regional Haze rule was promulgated under the portion of the CAA that seeks to improve visibility at national parks. Eight of these 15 units already have scrubbers and seven do not. NRG owns two of the affected units, Limestone units 1 and 2, which already have scrubbers. The rule requires that the Limestone units reduce their SO2 emission rates by 2019. NRG is analyzing the rule as well as exploring what scrubber upgrades and/or operational changes would be most economic to improve the SO2 rates of Limestone units 1 and 2. If this rule survives legal challenges, NRG anticipates that the affected coal units that do not have scrubbers (none of which belong to NRG) likely would retire by the first quarter of 2021 (but some possibly sooner).
Jewett Mine Closure Costs — NRG is party to a long-term contract with Texas Westmoreland Coal Co., or TWCC, under which TWCC provides the lignite used to fuel NRG’s Limestone facility, which is obtained from the Jewett mine, a surface mine adjacent to the Limestone facility. The contract is based on a cost-plus arrangement with incentives and penalties to ensure proper management of the mine. TWCC, the operator of the mine, is responsible for performing reclamation activities at the mine. NRG is responsible for mine reclamation cost obligations and maintains an appropriate ARO.