FERC oks EME asset sale to NRG

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the sale of Edison Mission Energy’s (EME) generation assets including about 1.73GW of wind capacity to NRG Energy.

FERC’s approval is the final regulatory authorization required to close the $2.635bn transaction, which both sides expect to occur on 1 April. Aside from 30 wind projects in 11 states, NRG will also acquire 4.3GW of coal-fired generation capacity and other assets.

NRG says the deal will create the second-largest US power company with capacity to supply nearly 48 million homes, and the third largest renewable energy generator here.

On 1 January 2013, EME ranked eighth among wind capacity owners in the US behind NextEra Energy Resources, Iberdrola Renewables, MidAmerican Energy Holdings, EDPR, E.ON Climate and Renewables, Invenergy and EDF Renewable Energy.

EME is a holding company whose subsidiaries and affiliates are engaged in developing, acquiring, owning or leasing, operating and selling energy and capacity from independent power production facilities.

Earlier this month, a US court approved EME’s reorganization plan that will allow it to emerge from bankruptcy free of liabilities and to carry out the asset sale to NRG.

EME filed for bankruptcy in December 2012. It cited challenges arising from “depressed energy and capacity prices and high fuel costs affecting its coal-fired facilities, combined with pending debt maturities and the need to retrofit its coal-fired facilities to comply with environmental regulations.”

Parent Edison International, which is solvent, has settled other EME liabilities and will remain owner of other assets. EME is based in Santa Ana, California.

NRG Energy says it may sell 1.1GW of wind capacity among generation assets that it will acquire from EME to subsidiary NRG Yield.  The company expects to close on the assets purchase this quarter.

NRG Energy created NRG Yield in 2013 with 1.324GW of its own generating assets. It now owns 1.447GW, of which 414MW are renewables assets -- including full ownership of five utility-scale solar farms, and 48.95% of the California Valley Solar Ranch and 49.95% of the Avenal solar farm.

Other assets include one wind farm in Texas; distributed solar systems in Arizona and 51% of others in California, and conventional and thermal generation facilities in five states.