The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Aug. 4 gave Apple a green light to sell its excess renewable energy through the company’s subsidiary, Apple Energy LLC (Docket No. ER16-1887).
In early June, the Apple subsidiary asked FERC for authorization to sell energy and ancillary services at market-based rates over broad areas of the United States.
Apple Energy LLC, registered in Delaware, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cupertino, California-based Apple Inc. In a June 6 filing with FERC, Apple Energy sought permission to sell surplus renewable energy — produced at Apple’s solar and other generating plants — on the wholesale power market at market-based rates.
In addition, Apple Energy asked for authorization to sell ancillary services, also at market-based rates, over broad regions overseen by most of the nation’s regional grid operators. The company said it wanted to sell these services — namely, regulation service, spinning reserve capability and/or voltage support services — in the electricity markets overseen by the California Independent System Operator, the New York ISO, Midcontinent ISO, ISO New England, PJM Interconnection and the Southwest Power Pool.
In an Aug. 4 letter order to Apple, Steve P. Rodgers, director of the Division of Electric Power Regulation – West for FERC’s Office of Energy Market Regulation, said that based on information Apple Energy provided to the commission, the company “meets the criteria for a Category 1 seller in all regions and is so designated,” as of Aug. 6, 2016.
“Based on your representations, Apple Energy’s submittal satisfies the commission’s requirements for market-based rate authority regarding horizontal market power,” and also for vertical market power, Rodgers wrote.
FERC “allows power sales at market-based rates if the seller and its affiliates do not have, or have adequately mitigated, horizontal and vertical market power,” he noted.
In a footnote to the order, the FERC official noted 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 apply to FERC and receive authorization from the commission, Rodgers said.
FERC’s letter also notes that Apple Energy stated, in requesting permission to sell energy at market-based rates, that it owns 19.9 megawatts of generation capacity in the Nevada Power Company balancing authority area; owns and operates 50 MW of capacity in the Salt River Project balancing authority area; and owns 130 MW of capacity in the California Independent System Operator’s market. Apple has stated that it does not own or control more than 500 MW of capacity in any region.
Apple Energy will have to file electric quarterly reports with the commission, consistent with directives in FERC orders 2001, 768 and 770, according to the Aug. 4 letter. The company also “must timely report to the commission any change in status that would reflect a departure from the characteristics the commission relied upon in granting market-based rate authority.”
By Jeannine Anderson