Commercial, Distributed Energy Resources, Energy Procurement, Industrial, Utilities, Commercial, Distributed Generation, Industrial, Sourcing Renewables  -  November 28, 2016

Making the case for corporate energy 'prosumers'

With Apple Inc. moving into the business of selling electricity earlier this year, the Harvard Business Review took on the trend in a Nov. 25 piece suggesting other businesses may want to follow suit. 

In August, Apple was granted permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to operate its Apple Energy LLC unit as a power company and sell energy, capacity and other services into wholesale markets. The move followed Google's creation of its own energy unit, Google Energy LLC. 

"Memo to CEOs who don't consider themselves in the electricity business: You may not be in the power business today, but you're more than likely to be in it tomorrow," Peter Fox-Penner wrote for magazine. 

 As the energy technologies and a desire for cleaner forms of electricity continue to accelerate among U.S. businesses, Fox-Penner, the director of Boston University's Institute for Sustainable Energy, aptly labeled companies that have made the leap from being just a consumer of energy to also producing their own energy "prosumers." Commercial and industrial firms, he argues, are largely well-positioned to make this transition because of the size of their facilities — which translates to a big demand for power — variations in power use and the ability to buy and sell electricity products at scale. 

Fox-Penner explains in the Harvard Business Review piece

As the electric power industry shifts from a model where individual local utilities have a monopoly on electricity provision in a region to a much more dynamic market, these prosumers will be able to make and sell a variety of obscure new products and services like frequency regulation. These services are now lumped into basic electric service, but in the future, prosumers will be able to produce them with their own equipment and sell them back into the power grid. Their monthly power bill will be the net of the energy and other services they produce and the energy they consume.

Tags: Apple, google
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