The Company's development programs are subject to financing and public policy risks that could adversely impact NRG's financial performance or result in the abandonment of such development projects.
While NRG currently intends to develop and finance its more capital intensive projects on a non-recourse or limited recourse basis through separate project financed entities and intends to seek additional investments in most of these projects from third parties, NRG anticipates that it will need to make significant equity investments in these projects. NRG may also decide to develop and finance some of the projects, such as smaller gas-fired and renewable projects, using corporate financial resources rather than non-recourse debt, which could subject NRG to significant capital expenditure requirements and to risks inherent in the development and construction of new generation facilities. In addition to providing some or all of the equity required to develop and build the proposed projects, NRG's ability to finance these projects on a non-recourse basis is contingent upon a number of factors, including the terms of the EPC contracts, construction costs, PPAs and fuel procurement contracts, capital markets conditions, the availability of tax credits and other government incentives for certain new technologies. To the extent NRG is not able to obtain non-recourse financing for any project or should credit rating agencies attribute a material amount of the project finance debt to NRG's credit, the financing of the development projects could have a negative impact on the credit ratings of NRG.
NRG may also choose to undertake the repowering, refurbishment or upgrade of current facilities based on the Company's assessment that such activity will provide adequate financial returns. Such projects often require several years of development and capital expenditures before commencement of commercial operations, and key assumptions underpinning a decision to make such an investment may prove incorrect, including assumptions regarding construction costs, timing, available financing and future fuel and power prices.
Furthermore, the viability of the Company's renewable development projects are contingent on public policy mechanisms including production and investment tax credits, cash grants, loan guarantees, accelerated depreciation tax benefits, renewable portfolio standards, or RPS, and carbon-related mandates or controls. These mechanisms have been implemented at the state and federal levels to support the development of renewable generation, demand-side and smart grid, and other clean infrastructure technologies. The availability and continuation of public policy support mechanisms will drive a significant part of the economics and viability of the Company's development program and expansion into clean energy investments.
Supplier and/or customer concentration at certain of NRG's facilities may expose the Company to significant financial credit or performance risks.
NRG often relies on a single contracted supplier or a small number of suppliers for the provision of fuel, transportation of fuel and other services required for the operation of certain of its facilities. If these suppliers cannot perform, the Company utilizes the marketplace to provide these services. There can be no assurance that the marketplace can provide these services as, when and where required or at comparable prices.
At times, NRG relies on a single customer or a few customers to purchase all or a significant portion of a facility's output, in some cases under long-term agreements that account for a substantial percentage of the anticipated revenue from a given facility. The Company has also hedged a portion of its exposure to power price fluctuations through forward fixed price power sales and natural gas price swap agreements. Counterparties to these agreements may breach or may be unable to perform their obligations. NRG may not be able to enter into replacement agreements on terms as favorable as its existing agreements, or at all. If the Company was unable to enter into replacement PPAs, the Company would sell its plants' power at market prices. If the Company is unable to enter into replacement fuel or fuel transportation purchase agreements, NRG would seek to purchase the Company's fuel requirements at market prices, exposing the Company to market price volatility and the risk that fuel and transportation may not be available during certain periods at any price.
The failure of any supplier or customer to fulfill its contractual obligations to NRG could have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial results. Consequently, the financial performance of the Company's facilities is dependent on the credit quality of, and continued performance by, suppliers and customers.
The Company's retail businesses may lose a significant number of retail customers due to competitive marketing activity by other retail electricity providers which could adversely affect the financial performance of the Company's retail businesses.
The Company's retail businesses face competition for customers. Competitors may offer lower prices and other incentives, which may attract customers away from NRG's retail businesses. In some retail electricity markets, the principal competitor may be the incumbent utility. The incumbent utility has the advantage of long-standing relationships with its customers, including well-known brand recognition. Furthermore, NRG's retail businesses may face competition from a number of other energy service providers, other energy industry participants, or nationally branded providers of consumer products and services who may develop businesses that will compete with NRG and its retail businesses.