Demand Management, Regulation, Commercial, Distributed Generation, Industrial, Regulation, Solar - August 4, 2016
FERC greenlights Apple Energy power sales
Apple Inc. on Aug. 4 received the go-ahead from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to sell energy, capacity and other services into wholesale markets, as needed, to ensure reliable power, Bloomberg News reported the same day.
The tech megalith joins fellow industry giant Alphabet Inc., parent of Google, and several other non-utility companies that are building up investment in energy projects.
Apple Energy LLC shelled out roughly $850 million on a 130-MW solar farm outside San Francisco in 2015, according to the report. Additionally, Apple's energy unit holds 19.9 MW of generation capacity in the service area of the Nevada Power Co. and 50 MW in Arizona's Salt River Project service area.
The company initially filed its request with FERC in June, saying it has boosted its ownership of renewable energy generation sources over the last several years, with a goal of powering 100% of its operations with renewable energy. Its U.S. operations achieved that goal in March.
Under Apple's proposal, excess energy produced at the company's generation facilities — scattered across the Southeast, Southwest, Northwest, Northeast Central and Southwest Power Pool regions — would be sold at market rates. But FERC regulations restrict nonenergy companies that plan to sell excess capacity to doing so only to utilities at wholesale rates, which are lower than market rates.
In its application, Apple sought an exemption from the wholesale rate mandate, claiming that the amount of power it would sell would not significantly impact market rates. The energy regulator, in granting the approval Thursday, agreed that allowing Apple to sell energy does not present a risk of artificially inflated power prices.
"Apple Energy meets the criteria for a Category 1 seller in all regions and is so designated," FERC said in its approval notice. The company can start selling power at market rates Aug. 6.