Friday, August 05, 2016

Apple, Inc, which is spending $850 million on a 130-megawatt solar farm near San Francisco over 25 years, can begin selling power into wholesale markets in the latest foray by a technology company into the energy business. Apple’s subsidiary Apple Energy LLC may sell energy, capacity and other services needed to maintain reliable power, according to an order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In granting approval, the commission determined the company did not raise the risk of being able to unfairly hike up power prices.

The iPhone maker is among a group of companies investing in energy projects in a bid to tackle global warming and cut electric bills. Google, Microsoft Corp. and Inc. are backing wind turbines and solar farms to power their operations and lower their carbon footprint.

Apple entered into an agreement last year with First Solar Inc. to buy power from the California solar farm in what was at the time the largest-ever solar procurement for a company that isn’t a utility. Apple also owns 20 megawatts of generation in the Nevada Power Company service area and 50 megawatts in the Salt River Project service area in Arizona, according to the FERC order. All of Apple’s data centers are now powered by renewables.

Apple may begin wholesale power sales Saturday. Google gained similar rights in 2010.  (Bloomberg Markets, 8/4/2016)

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