FERC Gives Nod To Apple Petition For Selling Electricity

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last Thursday approved a June 6 application from Apple’s energy subsidiary to sell electricity in six regional power markets around the country at market rates.

“Based on your representations, Apple Energy meets the criteria for a Category 1 seller in all regions and is so designated,” Steve Rodgers, director in FERC’s Division of Electric Power, wrote in a letter to Apple’s legal counsel.

Apple campus shutterstock_213843898 (1)

This means Apple will now be able to sell renewable power it does not need but it owns or has under contract — note that 93% of Apple facilities worldwide run on renewable electricity.

According to UtilityDIVE, in granting to Apple the ability to sell power, the FERC ruling means the tech behemoth will now be in a position to unfairly influence power prices in regions where it owns or controls power generation facilities.

This is not a unique case. Other large corporations — Google, for instance — buying renewable power are now beginning to sell it. Precedent for this dates back to February 2010, when FERC granted Google market-based rate authority. Apple, followed Google’s lead ~6 years later when it applied to FERC in June to be able to sell power into wholesale competitive markets.

According to ZACKS, Apple established Apple Energy LLC in June.

“As per a filing with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Cupertino-based Apple Inc. (AAPLAnalyst Report) has floated a new company Apple Energy LLC. It plans to sell excess solar energy generated through solar paneling on its new campus along with renewable energy from its facilities across Oregon, Nevada and California as well as from its hydrogen fuel cells.”

According to the FERC filing, Apple holds positions in these solar properties:

  • 20 MW Ft. Churchill solar farm in Lyon County, Nevada,
  • 50 MW Bonnybrooke solar facility under construction in Pinal County, Arizona
  • Two behind-the-meter generating plants totaling 18 MW on its California campus.
  • A long-term firm power purchase agreement with First Solar for 130 MW from a California solar farm under construction
  • 67.5 MW of facilities in North Carolina

“When you own power production facilities then you would typically want to have authority to sell power,” Kit Konolige, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence, told Bloomberg Markets. “It is indicative of a number of related trends that are lowering demand for power produced by utilities.”

In 23 countries, including the United States and China, Apple runs entirely on power generated from the sun, wind or water. Seeing how well it works, maybe the company is keen to jump into the renewable power plant business.

Image via Shutterstock

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