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Apple Energy Gets Go-Ahead from FERC

August 8, 2016 By Cheryl Kaften

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave Apple the go-ahead on August 4 (Docket No. ER16-1887-000) ) to begin selling power into wholesale markets under the auspices of its wholly owned subsidiary, Apple Energy – joining Google parent, Alphabet, in the energy-trading business.

On the basis of the FERC order, Apple Energy now has market-based rate authority to sell energy, capacity, and certain ancillary services to any purchaser that is not a franchised public utility. The ancillary services would include regulation service, spinning reserve capability, and voltage support services.

The move is not expected to increase power prices in any region.

There are two facilities on the Apple campus in Cupertino, California; as well as one in Nevada, one in Arizona, and one in California from which the company plans to sell uncommitted energy capacity.

Specifically, Apple Energy now will offer the following in each region:

  • California ISO:Regulation service, spinning reserve service, and non-spinning reserve service;
  • New York ISO: Regulation and frequency response service, and operating reserve service (which include 10-minute non-synchronous, 30-minute operating reserves, 10-minute spinning reserves, and 10-minute non-spinning reserves);
  • Midcontinent ISO: Regulation service and operating reserve service (which includes 10-minute spinning reserve and 10-minute supplemental reserve);
  • New England ISO: Regulation and frequency response service (automatic generator control), operating reserve service (which includes 10-minute spinning reserve, 10-minute non-spinning reserve, and 30-minute operating reserve service);
  • PJM Interconnection: Regulation and frequency response service, energy imbalance service, and operating reserve service (which includes spinning, 10-minute, and 30-minute reserves);
  • Southwest Power Pool:Seller offers regulation service and operating reserve service (which include 10-minute spinning reserve and 10-minute supplemental reserve);p and
  • Third Party Provider. Regulation service, reactive supply and voltage control service, energy and generator imbalance service, operating reserve-spinning, operating reserve-supplemental, and primary frequency response service.

In granting approval, the commission determined the Mountain View, California-based company did not raise the risk of being able to unfairly hike up power prices, according to a report by Bloomberg News, which noted that

Apple, together with Google, is among a group of tech companies outside the utility industry ramping up investments in energy projects.

FERC did make one condition in its final order, stating, “We note that Apple Energy is not being granted authority to make third-party sales of operating reserves to a public utility that is purchasing ancillary services to satisfy its own open access transmission tariff requirements to offer ancillary services to its own customers.  If Apple Energy seeks such authority, it must make the required showing and receive Commission authorization prior to making such sales.”

The commission stated that sales could start as early as August 5.

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