state law requirements for utilities to purchase a portion of their energy from renewable energy sources and changes in state laws or regulation relating to RECs may adversely affect the availability of RECs or other environmental attributes and the future prices for RECs or other environmental attributes, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Operation of renewable energy facilities involves significant risks and hazards that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. We may not have adequate insurance to cover these risks and hazards.
The ongoing operation of our facilities involves risks that include the breakdown or failure of equipment or processes or performance below expected levels of output or efficiency due to wear and tear, latent defect, design error or operator error or force majeure events, among other things. Operation of our facilities also involves risks that we will be unable to transport our product to our customers in an efficient manner due to a lack of transmission capacity. Unplanned outages of generating units, including extensions of scheduled outages, occur from time to time and are an inherent risk of our business. Unplanned outages typically increase our operation and maintenance expenses and may reduce our revenues as a result of generating and selling less power or require us to incur significant costs as a result of obtaining replacement power from third parties in the open market to satisfy our forward power sales obligations.
Our inability to efficiently operate our renewable energy facilities, manage capital expenditures and costs and generate earnings and cash flow from our asset-based businesses could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. While we maintain insurance, obtain warranties from vendors and obligate contractors to meet certain performance levels, the proceeds of such insurance, warranties or performance guarantees may not cover our lost revenues, increased expenses or liquidated damages payments should we experience equipment breakdown or non-performance by contractors or vendors.
Power generation involves hazardous activities, including delivering electricity to transmission and distribution systems. In addition to natural risks such as earthquake, flood, lightning, hurricane and wind, other hazards, such as fire, structural collapse and machinery failure are inherent risks in our operations. These and other hazards can cause significant personal injury or loss of life, severe damage to and destruction of property, plant and equipment and contamination of, or damage to, the environment and suspension of operations. The occurrence of any one of these events may result in our being named as a defendant in lawsuits asserting claims for substantial damages, including for environmental cleanup costs, personal injury and property damage and fines and/or penalties. We maintain an amount of insurance protection that we consider adequate but we cannot provide any assurance that our insurance will be sufficient or effective under all circumstances and against all hazards or liabilities to which we may be subject. Furthermore, our insurance coverage is subject to deductibles, caps, exclusions and other limitations. A loss for which we are not fully insured could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. Further, due to rising insurance costs and changes in the insurance markets, we cannot provide any assurance that our insurance coverage will continue to be available at all or at rates or on terms similar to those presently available. Any losses not covered by insurance could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our business is subject to substantial governmental regulation and may be adversely affected by changes in laws or regulations, as well as liability under, or any future inability to comply with, existing or future regulations or other legal requirements.
Our business is subject to extensive federal, state and local laws in the U.S. and regulations in the foreign countries in which we operate. Compliance with the requirements under these various regulatory regimes may cause us to incur significant costs, and failure to comply with such requirements could result in the shutdown of the non-complying facility or, the imposition of liens, fines and/or civil or criminal liability.
With the exception of certain of our utility scale plants, our renewable energy facilities located in the United States in our portfolio are QFs as defined under PURPA. Depending upon the power production capacity of the facility in question, our QFs and their immediate project company owners may be entitled to various exemptions from ratemaking and certain other regulatory provisions of the FPA, from the books and records access provisions of PUHCA, and from state organizational and financial regulation of electric utilities.
Certain of our utility scale plants and the owners of the EWG Projects (each, an “EWG Project Co”) are an EWG which exempts it and us (for purposes of our ownership of each such company) from the federal books and access provisions of PUHCA. Certain of the EWG Projects are also QFs. EWGs and their owners are subject to regulation for most purposes as “public utilities” under the FPA, including regulation of their rates and their issuances of securities. Each of our EWG