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The IFRS Interpretations Committee (Committee) discussed the following matter and tentatively decided not to add a standard-setting project to the work plan. The Committee will reconsider this tentative decision, including the reasons for not adding a standard-setting project, at a future meeting. The Committee invites comments on the tentative agenda decision. All comments will be on the public record and posted on our website unless a respondent requests confidentiality and we grant that request. We do not normally grant such requests unless they are supported by good reason, for example, commercial confidence. 

Tentative Agenda Decision

The Committee received a request about whether, applying paragraph B9(a) of IFRS 16, an electricity retailer (customer) has the right to obtain substantially all the economic benefits from use of a windfarm throughout the term of an agreement with a windfarm generator (supplier). In the fact pattern described in the request:

  1. the customer and supplier are registered participants in an electricity market, in which customers and suppliers are unable to enter into contracts directly with each other for the purchase and sale of electricity. Instead, customers and suppliers make such purchases and sales via the market’s electricity grid, the spot price for which is set by the market operator.
  2. the customer enters into an agreement with the supplier. The agreement:
    1. swaps the spot price per megawatt of electricity the windfarm supplies to the grid during the 20-year term of the agreement for a fixed price per megawatt, and is settled net in cash. In effect, the supplier receives a fixed price per megawatt for the electricity it supplies to the grid during the period of the agreement and the customer settles with the supplier the difference between that fixed price and the spot prices per megawatt for that volume of electricity.
    2. transfers to the customer all renewable energy credits that accrue from use of the windfarm.

Paragraph 9 of IFRS 16 states that ‘a contract is, or contains, a lease if the contract conveys the right to control the use of an identified asset for a period of time in exchange for consideration’. To control the use of an identified asset for a period of time, the customer—throughout the period of use—must have both the right to obtain substantially all the economic benefits from use of the identified asset and the right to direct the use of that asset (paragraph B9 of IFRS 16).

Paragraph B21 of IFRS 16 specifies that ‘a customer can obtain economic benefits from use of an asset directly or indirectly in many ways, such as by using, holding or sub-leasing the asset. The economic benefits from use of an asset include its primary output and by-products (including potential cash flows derived from these items), and other economic benefits from using the asset that could be realised from a commercial transaction with a third party’.

The Committee observed that, in the fact pattern described in the request, the economic benefits from use of the windfarm include the electricity it produces (as its primary output) and the renewable energy credits (as a by-product or other economic benefit from use of the windfarm).

The agreement results in the customer settling with the supplier the difference between the fixed price and the spot prices per megawatt of electricity the windfarm supplies to the grid throughout the 20-year term of the agreement. That agreement, however, gives rise to neither the right nor the obligation for the customer to obtain any of the electricity the windfarm produces and supplies to the grid. Although the customer has the right to obtain the renewable energy credits (which represent a portion of the economic benefits from use of the windfarm), the customer does not have the right to obtain substantially all the economic benefits from use of the windfarm because it has no right to obtain any of the electricity the windfarm produces throughout the period of the agreement.

The Committee therefore concluded that, in the fact pattern described in the request, the customer does not have the right to obtain substantially all the economic benefits from use of the windfarm. Consequently, the contract does not contain a lease.

The Committee concluded that the principles and requirements in IFRS Standards provide an adequate basis for a customer that enters into an agreement as described in the request to determine whether it has the right to obtain substantially all the economic benefits from use of an identified asset. Consequently, the Committee [decided] not to add a standard-setting project to the work plan.

The deadline for commenting on the tentative agenda decision is 16 August 2021. The Committee will consider all comments received in writing by that date; agenda papers analysing comments received will include analysis only of comments received by that date. 

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