|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018|
Ozone NAAQS — On October 26, 2015, the EPA promulgated a rule that reduces the ozone NAAQS to 0.070 ppm. Challenges to this rule have been stayed at the request of the EPA so that it can evaluate the rule. If the rule is not altered by the EPA and survives legal challenges, this more stringent NAAQS will obligate the states to develop plans to reduce NOx (an ozone precursor), which could affect some of the Company's units.
Cross-State Air Pollution Rule — The EPA finalized CSAPR in 2011, which was intended to replace CAIR in January 2012, to address certain states' obligations to reduce emissions so that downwind states can achieve federal air quality standards. In December 2011, the D.C. Circuit stayed the implementation of CSAPR and then vacated CSAPR in August 2012 but kept CAIR in place until the EPA could replace it. In April 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed and remanded the D.C. Circuit's decision. In October 2014, the D.C. Circuit lifted the stay of CSAPR. In response, the EPA in November 2014 amended the CSAPR compliance dates. Accordingly, CSAPR replaced CAIR on January 1, 2015. On July 28, 2015, the D.C. Circuit held that the EPA had exceeded its authority by requiring certain reductions that were not necessary for downwind states to achieve federal standards. Although the D.C. Circuit kept the rule in place, the court ordered the EPA to revise the Phase 2 (or 2017) (i) SO2 budgets for four states including Texas and (ii) ozone-season NOx budgets for 11 states including Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas. On October 26, 2016, the EPA finalized the CSAPR Update Rule, which reduces future NOx allocations and discounts the current banked allowances to account for the more stringent 2008 Ozone NAAQS and to address the D.C. Circuit's July 2015 decision. This rule has been challenged in the D.C. Circuit. The Company believes its investment in pollution controls and cleaner technologies leave the fleet well-positioned for compliance.
MATS — In 2012, the EPA promulgated standards (the MATS rule) to control emissions of HAPs from coal and oil-fired electric generating units. The rule established limits for mercury, non-mercury metals, certain organics and acid gases, which had to be met beginning in April 2015 (with some units getting a 1-year extension). In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in the case of Michigan v. EPA, and held that the EPA unreasonably refused to consider costs when it determined that it was "appropriate and necessary" to regulate HAPs emitted by electric generating units. The U.S. Supreme Court did not vacate the MATS rule but rather remanded it to the D.C. Circuit for further proceedings. In December 2015, the D.C. Circuit remanded the MATS rule to the EPA without vacatur. On April 25, 2016, the EPA released a supplemental finding that the benefits of this regulation outweigh the costs to address the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that the EPA had not properly considered costs. This finding has been challenged in the D.C. Circuit. On April 18, 2017, the EPA asked the D.C. Circuit to postpone oral argument that had been scheduled for May 18, 2017 because the EPA is closely reviewing the supplemental finding to determine whether it should reconsider all or part of the rule. On April 27, 2017, the D.C. Circuit granted the EPA's request to postpone the oral argument and hold the case in abeyance. While NRG cannot predict the final outcome of this rulemaking, NRG believes that because it has already invested in pollution controls and cleaner technologies, the fleet is well-positioned to comply with the MATS rule.
Clean Power Plan — The attention in recent years on GHG emissions has resulted in federal regulations and state legislative and regulatory action. In October 2015, the EPA finalized the Clean Power Plan, or CPP, addressing GHG emissions from existing EGUs. On February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the CPP. The D.C. Circuit heard oral argument on the legal challenges to the CPP in September 2016. At the EPA's request, the D.C. Circuit agreed on April 28, 2017 to hold the case in abeyance. On October 16, 2017, the EPA proposed a rule to repeal the CPP. The Company believes the CPP is not likely to survive.