NRG relies on power transmission facilities that it does not own or control and that are subject to transmission constraints within a number of the Company's core regions. If these facilities fail to provide NRG with adequate transmission capacity, the Company may be restricted in its ability to deliver wholesale electric power to its customers and the Company may either incur additional costs or forego revenues. Conversely, improvements to certain transmission systems could also reduce revenues.
NRG depends on transmission facilities owned and operated by others to deliver the wholesale power it sells from the Company's power generation plants to its customers. If transmission is disrupted, or if the transmission capacity infrastructure is inadequate, NRG's ability to sell and deliver wholesale power may be adversely impacted. If a region's power transmission infrastructure is inadequate, the Company's recovery of wholesale costs and profits may be limited. If restrictive transmission price regulation is imposed, the transmission companies may not have sufficient incentive to invest in expansion of transmission infrastructure. The Company also cannot predict whether transmission facilities will be expanded in specific markets to accommodate competitive access to those markets.
In addition, in certain of the markets in which NRG operates, energy transmission congestion may occur and the Company may be deemed responsible for congestion costs if it schedules delivery of power between congestion zones during times when congestion occurs between the zones. If NRG were liable for such congestion costs, the Company's financial results could be adversely affected.
The Company has a significant amount of generation located in load pockets, making that generation valuable, particularly with respect to maintaining the reliability of the transmission grid. Expansion of transmission systems to reduce or eliminate these load pockets could negatively impact the value or profitability of the Company's existing facilities in these areas.
The Company’s use and enjoyment of real property rights for its projects may be adversely affected by the rights of lienholders and leaseholders that are superior to those of the grantors of those real property rights to the Company.
Solar and wind projects generally are, and are likely to be, located on land occupied by the project pursuant to long-term easements and leases. The ownership interests in the land subject to these easements and leases may be subject to mortgages securing loans or other liens (such as tax liens) and other easement and lease rights of third parties (such as leases of oil or mineral rights) that were created prior to the project’s easements and leases. As a result, the project’s rights under these easements or leases may be subject, and subordinate, to the rights of those third parties. The Company performs title searches and obtains title insurance to protect itself against these risks. Such measures may, however, be inadequate to protect the Company against all risk of loss of its rights to use the land on which the wind projects are located, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
One of the Company's subsidiaries is a publicly traded corporation, NRG Yield, Inc., which may involve a greater exposure to legal liability than the Company's historic business operations.
One of the Company's subsidiaries is NRG Yield, Inc., a publicly traded corporation. NRG's controlling voting interest in NRG Yield, Inc. and the position of certain of its executive officers that are serving the Board of Directors of NRG Yield, Inc. or as executive officers may increase the possibility of claims of breach of fiduciary duties including claims of conflicts of interest related to NRG Yield, Inc. Any liability resulting from such claims could have a material adverse effect on NRG's future business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Because NRG owns less than a majority of the ownership interests of some of its project investments, the Company cannot exercise complete control over their operations.
NRG has limited control over the operation of some project investments and joint ventures because the Company's investments are in projects where it beneficially owns less than a majority of the ownership interests. NRG seeks to exert a degree of influence with respect to the management and operation of projects in which it owns less than a majority of the ownership interests by negotiating to obtain positions on management committees or to receive certain limited governance rights, such as rights to veto significant actions. However, the Company may not always succeed in such negotiations. NRG may be dependent on its co-venturers to operate such projects. The Company's co-venturers may not have the level of experience, technical expertise, human resources management and other attributes necessary to operate these projects optimally. The approval of co-venturers also may be required for NRG to receive distributions of funds from projects or to transfer the Company's interest in projects.