Apple, better known for iphones and ipads, is entering the electric power industry. Apple on June 6 filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to sell electricity and other power grid services.
Apple is not looking to become a traditional utility, but would follow something closer to the independent power producer model that allows a power generator to sell electric power to utilities.
Apple Energy LLC is registered in Delaware but runs from the technology company’s Cupertino, California headquarters.
Many large corporations are turning green by sourcing more and more of their electrical power needs from renewable resources. Companies such as Ikea and Walmart are active buyers of renewable resources.
But some companies have taken that a step further and have formed separate energy divisions. Apple now joins the ranks of companies like Google, which in 2009 formed Google Energy to manage its energy assets.
Apple’s portfolio, including power purchase agreements as well as solar farms, totals about 218 MW.
By seeking market based rate authority with FERC, Apple would be able to trade electricity in wholesale power markets, giving it the ability to move power around contractually to offset locational gaps in solar output. Apple would also be able to sell to end users at retail rates, which could be an effective hedge against changes in net metering policies that could alter the existing economics of Apple solar resources.
Further on, FERC status could allow Apple greater leeway in how it implements strategies involving electric cars, which is another technology Apple is looking into. Industry newsletters suggested Apple could be interested in developing its own electric car and charging stations.