An Apple a Day

Tech giant to join the utilities fray, sell electrical power

Apple, Inc. dominates tech headlines on a daily basis, but it recently received plenty of negative press in being charged $14.5 billion in back taxes by the European Union. So it may very well fly under the radar that the computer giant is entering the utility market as well, despite it being no less of a big deal.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) green-lighted Apple’s petition to sell electric power on August 8, enabling the company to enter the power market, including the option to provide solar power, the only non-energy company to do so since Google was granted the same authority in 2010.

With FERC’s approval, Apple can now manage its array of power projects…which might surprise you.

According to the FERC filing, Apple owns the 20 MW Ft. Churchill solar farm in Lyon County, Nevada, the 50 MW Bonnybrooke solar facility under construction in Pinal County, Arizona, which is due online in the fourth quarter, and two behind-the-meter generating plants totaling 18 MW on its Cupertino, Calif., campus. The iPhone maker has an additional long-term firm power purchase agreement with First Solar for 130 MW from a solar farm under construction in California.

Apple also owns 67.5 MW of facilities in North Carolina and a little over 3 MW of plants in Oregon that do not fall under FERC jurisdiction.

“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.”

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