|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018|
Peak Energy Rent Adjustment Complaint — On September 30, 2016, the New England Power Generators Association, or NEPGA, filed a complaint against ISO-NE asking FERC to find the Peak Energy Rent, or PER, unjust and unreasonable. The PER adjustment reduces capacity payments on days where energy prices exceed a pre-defined level, known as the "PER strike price." On January 9, 2017, FERC granted NEPGA’s complaint requiring a change to the methodology used to calculate the PER strike price. FERC also directed the parties to determine any refunds for PER paid between September 30, 2016 and May 31, 2018. On July 26, 2017, NEPGA filed settlement documents at FERC, which NRG supported. On February 20, 2018, FERC accepted the settlement and directed ISO-NE to submit a compliance filing setting out the PER calculation.
Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY) Complaint — On January 9, 2017, EPSA requested FERC to promptly direct the NYISO to file tariff provisions to address pending market concerns related to out-of-market payments to existing generation in the NYISO. This request was prompted by the ZEC program initiated by the NYSPSC. This request follows IPPNY’s complaint at FERC against the NYISO on May 10, 2013, as amended on March 25, 2014. The generators asked FERC to direct the NYISO to require that capacity from existing generation resources that would have exited the market but for out-of-market payments be mitigated. Failure to implement buyer-side mitigation measures could result in uneconomic entry, which artificially decreases capacity prices below competitive market levels.
New York Public Service Commission Retail Energy Market Proceedings — On February 23, 2016, the NYSPSC issued what it refers to as its “Retail Reset” order, or Reset Order, in docket 12-M-0476 et al. Among other things, the Reset Order placed a price cap on energy supply offers and required many retail providers to seek affirmative consent from certain retail customers. Various parties have challenged the NYPSC’s ability to regulate rates charged by competitive suppliers in New York state court. In conjunction with the court challenges, the NYPSC noticed both an evidentiary and a collaborative track to address the functioning of the competitive retail markets. An administrative hearing commenced on November 29, 2017 as part of the evidentiary track, which is ongoing. The outcome of the evidentiary and collaborative processes, combined with the outcome of the appeal of the Reset Order, could affect the viability of the New York retail energy market.
Puente Power Project — On October 5, 2017, the California Energy Commission, or CEC, the agency responsible for permitting the Puente Power Project, issued a statement on behalf of the committee of two Commissioners overseeing the permitting process stating their intention to issue a proposed decision that would deny a permit for the Puente Power Project. On October 16, 2017, NRG filed a motion to suspend the permitting proceeding for at least six months, which was granted on November 3, 2017. During the six month suspension period, which could be extended, NRG will evaluate the progress of a procurement process initiated by SCE to replace the Puente Power Project.
NRG is subject to numerous environmental laws in the development, construction, ownership and operation of projects. These laws generally require that governmental permits and approvals be obtained before construction and during operation of power plants. Federal and state environmental laws historically have become more stringent over time. Future laws may require the addition of emissions controls or other environmental controls or impose restrictions on our operations, which could affect the Company's operations. Complying with environmental laws often involves significant capital and operating expenses, as well as occasionally curtailing operations. NRG decides to invest capital for environmental controls based on the relative certainty of the requirements, an evaluation of compliance options, and the expected economic returns on capital.
A number of regulations that may affect the Company are under review by the EPA, including ESPS for GHGs, ash disposal requirements, NAAQS revisions and implementation and effluent limitation guidelines. NRG will evaluate the impact of these regulations as they are revised but cannot fully predict the impact of each until anticipated legal challenges are resolved.
The CAA and the resulting regulations (as well as similar state and local requirements) have the potential to affect air emissions, operating practices and pollution control equipment required at power plants. Under the CAA, the EPA sets NAAQS for certain pollutants including SO2, ozone, and PM2.5. Many of the Company's facilities are located in or near areas that are classified by the EPA as not achieving certain NAAQS (non-attainment areas). The relevant NAAQS have become more stringent. The Company maintains a comprehensive compliance strategy to address continuing and new requirements. Complying with increasingly stringent air regulations could require the installation of additional emissions control equipment at some NRG facilities or retiring of units if installing such controls is not economic. Significant changes to air regulatory programs affecting the Company are described below.