|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018|
Evaluation of Assets for Impairment and Other-Than-Temporary Decline in Value
In accordance with ASC 360, Property, Plant, and Equipment, or ASC 360, NRG evaluates property, plant and equipment and certain intangible assets for impairment whenever indicators of impairment exist. Examples of such indicators or events are:
Recoverability of assets to be held and used is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of the assets to the future net cash flows expected to be generated by the asset, through considering project specific assumptions for long-term power pool prices, escalated future project operating costs and expected plant operations. If such assets are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured by the amount by which the carrying amount of the assets exceeds the fair value of the assets by factoring in the probability weighting of different courses of action available to the Company. Generally, fair value will be determined using valuation techniques such as the present value of expected future cash flows. NRG uses its best estimates in making these evaluations and considers various factors, including forward price curves for energy, fuel costs and operating costs. However, actual future market prices and project costs could vary from the assumptions used in the Company's estimates, and the impact of such variations could be material.
For assets to be held and used, if the Company determines that the undiscounted cash flows from the asset are less than the carrying amount of the asset, NRG must estimate fair value to determine the amount of any impairment loss. Assets held-for-sale are reported at the lower of the carrying amount or fair value less the cost to sell. The estimation of fair value under ASC 360, whether in conjunction with an asset to be held and used or with an asset held-for-sale, and the evaluation of asset impairment are, by their nature, subjective. NRG considers quoted market prices in active markets to the extent they are available. In the absence of such information, the Company may consider prices of similar assets, consult with brokers, or employ other valuation techniques. NRG will also discount the estimated future cash flows associated with the asset using a single interest rate representative of the risk involved with such an investment or employ an expected present value method that probability-weights a range of possible outcomes. The use of these methods involves the same inherent uncertainty of future cash flows as previously discussed with respect to undiscounted cash flows. Actual future market prices and project costs could vary from those used in the Company's estimates, and the impact of such variations could be material.
Annually, during the fourth quarter, the Company revises its views of power and fuel prices including the Company's fundamental view for long term prices, forecasted generation and operating and capital expenditures, in connection with the preparation of its annual budget. Changes to the Company’s views of long term power and fuel prices impacted the Company’s projections of profitability, based on management's estimate of supply and demand within the sub-markets for each plant and the physical and economic characteristics of each plant. During the fourth quarter of 2017, the Company completed its annual budget and revised its view of long-term power and fuel prices and the corresponding impact on estimated cash flows associated with its long-lived assets. The most significant impact was a decrease in the Company’s long-term view of natural gas prices which resulted in a reduction to long-term power prices and had a negative impact on the Company’s coal, nuclear and renewable facilities.
As a result, the following long-lived asset impairments were recorded during the fourth quarter of 2017, as further described in Item 15 —Note 10, Asset Impairments, to the consolidated financial statements:
•South Texas Project, or STP - The Company recognized an impairment loss of $1,248 million related to its interest in STP as a result of the decrease in the Company's view of long-term power prices in ERCOT.
•Indian River - The Company recognized an impairment loss of $36 million for Indian River as a result of the decrease in the Company's view of long-term power prices in PJM.
•Keystone and Conemaugh - The Company recognized impairment losses of $35 million for Keystone and $35 million for Conemaugh as a result of the decrease in the Company's view of long-term power prices in PJM.
•Wind Facilities - The Company recorded impairment losses of $110 million, $26 million and $4 million for Langford, Elbow Creek and Forward, respectively, as a result of the decrease in the Company's view of long-term merchant power prices in ERCOT and PJM. While Elbow Creek and Forward have contracts to sell power, the significant decrease in estimated power prices had an impact on cash flows in post-contract periods.