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Fitch flags Alta Wind's pass-through trust certificates for possible downgrade

Fitch Ratings on March 13 placed the BBB- rating of Alta Wind 2010 pass-through trust certificates due 2035 on Rating Watch Negative, mainly driven by Fitch's recent downgrade of Southern California Edison Co.'s long-term issuer default rating to BBB-, on Negative Watch.

On March 11, Fitch downgraded Edison International and SoCalEd's long-term issuer default ratings to BBB- from BBB+, to "reflect the risk of large incremental catastrophic wildfires in 2019 and beyond." The companies were also placed on Rating Watch Negative.

SoCalEd is the sole off-taker of the wind project under a fixed-price power purchase agreement ending Dec. 31, 2035.

Alta Wind is composed of special purpose companies created to develop, own and operate the 570-MW wind project in the Tehachapi Pass near the town of Mojave in southwestern California. Alta Wind used the proceeds of the certificates to fund the project's construction and reimburse the original sponsor's development costs.

"Alta's rating is constrained by the credit quality of [SoCalEd]. Outside of the [SoCalEd] exposure, revenue volatility is primarily driven by the wind resource, which has consistently fallen below P90 production estimates," Fitch said in a March 13 note.

Further ratings action on Alta Wind may depend on the future rating of SoCalEd.