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TERRAFORM POWER, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/07/2018
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wholesale or negotiated market based rates, instead of cost-of-service rates, as well as waivers of, and blanket authorizations under, certain FERC regulations that are commonly granted to market based rate sellers. FERC requires market based rate holders to make additional filings upon certain triggering events in order to maintain market based rate authority. The failure to make timely filings can result in revocation or suspension of market based rate authority, refunds of revenues previously collected and the imposition of civil penalties.

Under Section 203 of the FPA (“FPA Section 203”), prior authorization by FERC is generally required for any direct or indirect acquisition of control over, or merger or consolidation with, a “public utility” or in certain circumstances an “electric utility company,” as such terms are used for purposes of FPA Section 203. All of our renewable energy facilities that sell their output at wholesale in the continental U.S. (except in Texas) and Evergreen Gen Lead, LLC (which owns electric transmission facilities) are public utilities, and all are electric utility companies (including those in Texas) for the purposes of FPA Section 203. FERC generally presumes that the acquisition of direct or indirect voting power of 10% or more in an entity results in a change in control of such entity. Transfers of transmission facilities associated with our electric generation facilities or the whole of any such generation facility could also trigger the need to obtain prior approval from FERC under FPA Section 203. Violation of FPA Section 203 can result in civil or criminal liability under the FPA, including civil penalties, and the possible imposition of other sanctions by FERC. Depending upon the circumstances, liability for violation of FPA Section 203 may attach to a public utility, the parent holding company of a public utility or an electric utility company, or to an acquirer of the voting securities of such holding company or its public utility or electric utility company subsidiaries.

Certain of our renewable energy facilities are also subject to compliance with the mandatory Reliability Standards developed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) and approved by FERC. Violation of such Reliability Standards can result in civil penalties under the FPA assessed to the owners and/or operators of such renewable energy facilities. In the United Kingdom, Canada and Chile, the Company is also generally subject to the regulations of the relevant energy regulatory agencies applicable to all producers of electricity under the relevant feed-in tariff or other governmental incentive programs (collectively “FIT”) (including the FIT rates); however it is generally not subject to regulation as a traditional public utility, i.e., regulation of our financial organization and rates other than FIT rates.

As the size of our portfolio grows, it may become subject to new or modified regulatory regimes that may impose unanticipated requirements on its business as a whole that were not anticipated with respect to any individual renewable energy facility. For example, the NERC rules approved by FERC impose fleetwide cyber security requirements regarding electronic and physical access to generating facilities in order to protect system reliability; such requirements expand in scope after the point at which a single owner has more than 1,500 MW of reliability assets under its control in a single connection and expand again once the owner has more than 3,000 MW under construction. Such future changes in our regulatory status or the makeup of our fleet could require it to incur materially higher costs which could have a material adverse impact on its financial performance or results of operations. Similarly, although we are not currently subject to regulation as an electric utility in the foreign markets in which we provide our renewable energy services, our regulatory position in these markets could change in the future. Any local, state, federal or international regulations could place significant restrictions on our ability to operate our business and execute our business plan by prohibiting or otherwise restricting the sale of electricity by us. If we were deemed to be subject to the same state, federal or foreign regulatory authorities as traditional utility companies, or if new regulatory bodies were established to oversee the renewable energy industry in the United States or in our foreign markets, our operating costs could materially increase, adversely affecting our results of operations.

Government Incentives and Legislation

Each of the countries in which we operate has established various incentives and financial mechanisms to reduce the cost of renewable energy and to accelerate the adoption of solar and wind energy. These incentives include tax credits, cash grants, favorable tax treatment and depreciation, rebates, RECs or green certificates, net energy metering programs and other incentives. These incentives help catalyze private sector investments in renewable energy and efficiency measures. Changes in the government incentives in each of these jurisdictions could have a material impact on our financial performance.

United States

Federal government support for renewable energy

On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted comprehensive tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”). The Tax Act makes broad and complex changes to the U.S. tax code, including, but not limited to, (i) reducing the U.S. federal corporate rate from 35% to 21%; (ii) requiring companies to pay a one-time transition tax on certain unrepatriated earnings (where applicable) of foreign subsidiaries; (iii) generally eliminating the U.S. federal income tax on dividends received from foreign subsidiaries; (iv) requiring current inclusion in the U.S. federal taxable income