An electric power company chooses to buy or sell a generator for a number of reasons including diversifying fuel mix, complying with regulations, taking advantage of distressed assets in the marketplace, or to free operating capital. Natural gas and renewable units comprise a majority of the generating capacity bought or sold since 2005.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration based on SNL Energy. Note: Annual totals reflect operating capacity of generators for which the purchase and sale was completed within the calendar year.
Power plant acquisitions include the purchase of an entire plant site, a single generator, a share of a generator, or even an entire company. A single generator can be owned by multiple entities. For example, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station is fractionally owned by: American Public Service Company (29.1%), Salt River Project (17.5%), El Paso Electric Co. (15.8%), Southern California Edison (15.8%), Public Service Co. of New Mexico (10.2%), Southern California Public Power Authority (5.9%), and Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (5.7%).
Companies that purchase electric generating capacity include regulated electric utilities, independent power producers, industrial power users, municipal power companies, investment banks and private equity investors. Transactions involving regulated electric utilities are often subject to approval from state public utility commissions. The purchase or sale of an investor-owned asset may or may not be subject to approval from state commissions or federal entities like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Security and Exchange Commission or the Federal Trade Commission.