Apple Energy gets federal approval to sell power

“Apple Inc., which spent $850 million last year on a 130-megawatt solar farm near San Francisco, can begin selling power into wholesale markets in the latest foray by a technology company into the energy business,” Jonathan Crawford reports for Bloomberg Technology.

“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 Thursday,” Crawford reports. “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, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. 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.”

Crawford reports, “Apple may begin wholesale power sales Saturday.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected. — Spike Milligan

SEE ALSO:
Apple Energy: The implications are mind-boggling – June 16, 2016
Apple Energy: Is this Apple running its own microgrids or more? – June 10, 2016
Apple Inc. forms Apple Energy company; looks to sell electricity into grid and perhaps directly to consumers – June 9, 2016

16 Comments

  1. Water & Power departments around the country (especially the DWP here in L.A.) are already running scared sh*tless over the fast adoption of solar energy on homes (after being gouged for years on energy costs) and starting to enact legislation, added fees and restrictions to slow what is inevitable.

    Funny isn’t it the long desire to get away from fossil fuels and then the backlash and realities are that many of the local water & power employees won’t be able to draw their 6 figure salaries anymore at the rate things are going.

    And now businesses like Apple’s getting into the energy mix. Oy vey! DWP officials (which local government is unable to control) must be having an apoplectic epileptic fit. I love it.

    1. Actually I know a little bit about energy and having worked at the Indian Point nuclear power plant I can say that this is a pathetic tiny amount of energy compared to what a nuclear reactor can put out. Nobody is shaking in their boots and total carbon output is projected to continue to rise even with the most optimistic projections for wind and solar.

      In fact, solar is not even green energy. It takes more energy to manufacture them than they will ever put out in their lifetime.

      All it does is move the carbon to China. The more solar panels we build the more coal we need.

      Each panel puts out about 200 watts at peak sun when they are brand new. 5 panels is about equal to the power of a 1000 watt blow dryer.

      The average roof has about 20- 25 panels or about equivalent to 4-5 blow dryers peak and it only goes down from there.m as they get older.

      Did I forget to mention that the aluminum frames require about one thousand six hundred degrees to melt? Oh what about the mining, shipping, trucking, and installers driving around all over town installing them?

      Do you really believe your 4 or 5 blow dryers worth of energy during noon time will ever pay pay the energy debt they create?

      Clean energy my ass!

      1. They are working on the struggle to keep photovoltaics green ’tis true but the promise is there that the manufacture vs benefits will improve in time. It’s gotta start somewhere with a relatively new technology. If solar power is no skin off the W&P’s noses then why the sudden urgency to regulate, add fee’s and disincentives?

        Problem with nuclear is like the San Onofre plant in Kallee which has been decommissioned and nothing is replacing it. I think the world might be a dandier place without nuclear fission energy. I for one however would welcome our Mr. Fusion Overlords.

        $150 month power bills or less beats your status quo $500 a month peak summer bills every time. If it makes economic sense to the consumer that’s all that matters, to the consumer that is. Thanks for your energy insights.

        1. First cheaper is not greener. If I sell coal for a penny a ton, it will be cheaper. That is the first big misconception. How long will it take for it to pay for itself means nothing to the environment.

          Waiting for the manufacturing costs to slowly go down won’t change the amount of energy it takes to mine aluminum, melt, ship and install them. It only makes them cheaper encouraging more people to buy solar and then further increasing the world demand for energy rather than reducing it.

          Often people say that over time Solar will get more efficient. The average panel is already about 20-22% efficient and solar and battery technology are the slowest moving technologies and at current rate will take years to improve, but even so, what if we had an immediate breakthrough? Well they can’t get better than 100% efficient which isn’t even possible because there is resistance in the wires and energy loss in the DC to AC conversion so at best (theorietically) then can only get about 4 times better. So what! What good will that do?

          Now add the fact that batteries are slowly getting cheaper and newer installations will begin to feature them.

          Adding batteries doesn’t increase the amount of power generated it is just adds an additional overhead to evenly distribute the power. Now you have an additional energy debt the panels have to pay back. The mining and manufacturing of the panels plus the metals mining and manufacture and shipping of those heavy batteries.

          The other misconception to solar is that you can power your home with them which isn’t true. They never rip the heat and hot water boilers out of your home when they install the panels because they supply enough power for electricity not nearly enough power for heat and hot water which is the bulk of your energy use.

          So if you panel every home in America the bulk of our energy demand which is heat and hot water will remain. So what have we accomplished? We still have the bulk of our demand unmet and we have a rooftop full of energy “debt”.

          Now coming to those fees and “discouragements” we are starting to see against solar. They are not being evil, there is a problem. Our grid was designed for consistent reliable energy flow in a single direction.

          Think of it this way. What if we all drilled wells and pushed random water upstream into our reservoir and piping system? We would cause a lot of turbulence, which is what happens. Power plants can’t turn off and on with the waves of the clouds so they have to keep producing and often the extra energy has to be dumped because there is no place to store it.

          This has a cost associated with it and that is the fees they are trying to recover. This adds to the stupidity of solar and wind. They are not being evil.

          So what to do?

          Nuclear is the only clean energy source and before I get flamed for this modern day designs are nearly fail safe, the problem is everyone says “no” which leaves us stuck with the 50 year old reactors.

          Furthermore, thorium nuclear reactors don’t produce waste, can actually burn up our existing uranium waste and can power the world for thousands of years cheaply and put out about 100 times more power than the old style water cooled uranium reactors.

          The problem is everyone is so brainwashed when they hear the word nuke.

          If you care about our planet you have to drop this misguided “belief” in solar
          and learn more about Thorium nuclear power plants. We can have unlimited clean energy for the entire planet in one generation. A world where we can have an unlimited electric plan to your home like we today have unlimited data plans.

          Can solar promise you that?

          Before anyone flames me watch this quick 30 minute documentary and get involved. Spread the word, write your congressman and do this for our children. Nuclear power has come a long way while we’ve been futzing with solar.

          please, flame me AFTER watching the video because if you flame me without watching you prove my point that you are brainwashed. I will reiterate, I worked at Indian point nuclear power plant, I know something about the field and this video is not bullshit.

          1. First I never said “cheaper was greener” so no misconception on my part occurred. Articles I have read have said they were working on the greener aspects of manufacturing. Nor did I mention how long it takes to pay for meaning nothing to the environment. Unless these are just your additional points.

            “Waiting for the manufacturing costs to slowly go down won’t change the amount of energy it takes…” “…resistance in the wires and energy loss…”

            Technology changes and hopefully breakthroughs are made (super-conductor, etc.) that positively effect Mother Earth but inevitably there will be a toll for ANY technology that’s manufactured now. Including cell phones and computers.

            Battery production is also not terribly green. What in technology is at the moment?

            Don’t know the percentage but my home uses a gas water heater. For many the solar merely augments what comes off the main line.

            The consumer is paying less for energy even if the toll is placed somewhere else. Everybody wants their cake and eat it too.

            I realize the infrastructure needs to be maintained but our DWP is notorious for overpaid employees and money wasting activities. And they seem to be a government service island onto themselves. The “evil” is the agency itself and it’s autonomous running, corruption and enriching going on.

            Batteries are the only way to store energy and I think in it’s current state a very inefficient way of doing that. Again I’m hoping for Mr. Fusion.

            Nuclear will only get a more positive image when it goes fusion, if ever.

            You have a hard time understanding the economics as they hit the regular consumer. All they see is the money they save and that’s the only thing that matters to them. Plus there is no real media backlash concerning the greenness of solar killing it.

            Solar appears to be the solution we have for the moment. Maybe Thorium nuclear power plants in the future or other technology not yet envisioned. Solar energy though is a constant available energy source so appeals to many people.

            I have no intention of flaming you (nor do you need to insult me – not the best way to get converts) and appreciate your view and passion. In the end we all want the same thing – a renewable, sustainable energy source at reasonable cost. I’ll take a look at the docu. Thanks.

            1. I am not insulting you. I hope I didn’t come across that way. If I did I apologize. It means I must chose my words more carefully. I think the problem is that I replied to you and then addressed “generic” misconceptions. I am sorry.

              I appreciate your having an open mind. I think you are in for a treat when you see how far nuclear technology has progressed. China and India and I believe the Netherlands are building thorium reactors.

            2. No worries. I hadn’t heard about Thorium reactors so I appreciate you bringing it up. They do sound very promising. It would be nice if this coincided with a more reasonable power rate since the majority of people mostly care about their pocketbooks. Environmentally sound, sustainable and relatively inexpensive is the winning formula.

          2. I challenge almost every statement you make. How much CO2 is produced to make and run a nuclear power plant, compared with making equivalent solar panels? Dont’ forget the very power-intensive mineral extraction to make, and concentrate, the fuel for the nuclear reactor. And all the heat required to fabricate all the bits and bobs and rods and pipes, and coolant facilities for a reactor. And don’t forget to account for trucking spent fuel around the country looking for a dump site that will take it, etc.

            Renewables are on their way. They are not yet perfect, but they beat current alternatives. (Incidentally, nuclear tried and failed; people don’t trust them and don’t want them in their back yards. It was time to move on many years ago.)

            Renewables, and particularly solar photovoltaics, are the way to go. They are not yet perfect, but they are progressing fast.

            Some of the smartest investments out there were the folks who installed PV on their houses in the 1960s. At the time they were expensive, but they continue to be of service 50 years later.

            Grandpa, you are several generations out of date. Dont’ be so down on new, emerging technology. Look up the articles on what Burlington Vermont, for one, has done to reduce its use of fossil fuels. They are still far from “zero fossil fuels”, but if every town in the country followed their lead, we would be a lot closer than now.

            And one more thing: fossil fuels should be taxed, so the prices of energy sold by utilities around the country should be much higher. This would reduce demand. should have happened in the 1970s, if you ask me.

            1. You are telling me I am very misinformed about Nuclear? I worked at Indian Nuclear power plant point for 3 years when it was a still owned by NY State Power Authority. It is you that is misinformed.

              You should start by watching that 30 minute Documentary I attached if you want to learn.

              Your big error in reasoning is that you talk about the amount of energy it takes to mine and manufacture nuclear reactors.

              That energy debt does not apply to nuclear reactors as it does to any other form of power.

              Why? Because the energy you spent is chemical reactions. Burning fossil fuel etc.

              The energy you generate is from nuclear reactions which is millions of times greater than chemical reactions.

              Chemical reactions depend on rearranging molecules. The energy released is the maximum amount of energy taken to hold the molecules together with electrons (the smallest particles) using the electro magnetic force. The weakest force (except for Gravity)

              Nuclear power comes from rearranging heavy atoms, releasing neutrons (the largest and heaviest particles) and smashing them into other atoms breaking them apart releasing the massive amount of energy that holds them together.

              Atoms are held together with what is called “the strong force” which is named that way for a reason. Think of an atom with more than one proton in the nucleus packed together. They are both positive charges, why don’t they fly apart? It’s the strong force that keeps them together.

              Each atom can be thought of as tiny batteries with massive amounts of energy packed into them.

              Where did that power originally come from?

              All the atoms in the universe came from stars. They started as hydrogen and under the tremendous gravity and heat and pressure from the stars they got sqeezed together and fused into larger and larger elements with more protons squeezed together with enough force to overcome the fact that protons are all plus charged and should fly apart.

              Eventually the star exploded and released all these newly formed elements into the universe creating all the planets and heavier elements.

              When we use nuclear reactors to split atoms through fission, the reverse process of fusion we release all that stored energy that came from the stars.

              In a sense, nuclear power is the ultimate form of solar power.

              The arguments you have mad le thus far shows your lack of understanding about nuclear physics and energy in general.

              Your other argument about nuclear has failed is false.

              If you do the math, rather world has approximately 450+ nuclear reactors that are very old (most more than 40 years old) and on average each reactor puts out the equivalent power to about 40 fossil fuel plants.

              If you do the math, if you had a magic button you could press that would mean nuclear reactors would have never been built, it would be equivalent to doubling the amount of green house gases produced by the United States over the last 30 years.

              If you believe that man made climate change is real then imagine if we were right now still futzing around with solar after 30 more years of CO2.

              You may think nuclear is a failure, I think we are all still alive today because we have them.

              Furthermore, the reason we are stuck with these old reactor designs is because too many people like you who don’t understand the technology nor care to learn say “no”. That has prevented us from building newer and safer reactors and shutting down the old ones.

              It is people like you who protest and have kept us back and block progress.

              The nuclear engineers are very smart people and have kids too. They care greatly about about our planet. It is time we stop villainizing them and supporting them. They are not evil.

              You can do your part by watching that video and learning about thorium reactors which doesn’t have any of the problems of the older reactors.

              Yes I am grandpa, I’m 60 years old and ironically my 3rd gran daughter was born yesterday.

              I care deeply about our planet. I am stuck with the guilt when my kids ask “why did we do nothing and allow this to happen”.

              We didn’t know about thorium nuclear power.

              You will have a bigger guilt. Your kids will ask, “if you knew about clean unlimited energy from thorium reactors, why did you say no?”.

              Watch that video, get involved, change the world, drop your brainwashing.

              Your generation is as brainwashed about the dangers of nuclear and all the lies as our generation has been about the dangers of marijuana.

              If you care about our planet as you say you do, and you believe you have an open mind, and are not brainwashed then click that link. It’s only 30 minutes of your life that your kids will ask you about someday.

              I hope you have a better answer than we did.

            2. My question was simple. (It was in response to the comment about how much fossil fuel is burned to create PV systems…) Does anyone know how much fossil fuel is used to build and maintain a nuclear reactor? I bet it is a lot. (By the way, I know nuclear power is a chemical reaction …though it does have one slight possible side effect if the reactor goes critical and blows: radiation poisoning and death. Incidentally, fossil fuel combustion is also a chemical reaction — it just happens to have some other nasty side effects, like producing CO2 in huge amounts — 3.67 times the weight of carbon combusted — plus other pollutants, like carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides.

              So people get to choose their poison …and most people decided against nuclear. Chernobyl and Japan scared the dickens out of most people. I just do not see that the nuclear industry will get second chance.

              Renewables are the next best bet and they are coming on strong. It really bothers me when Monday morning quarterbacks like you, slam it, because you know, we shoulda had nuclear…

              Except it nuclear will never happen; people won’t let it. It scares them too much. So please join the rest of the world in getting behind renewables instead of lamenting the whole nuclear industry for blowing the only chance they were gonna get.

      2. I understand from a book I read a long time ago by Freeman Dyson, called “Infinite in all directions”, that the problem with the nuclear industry is that they picked the wrong nuclear reactor to put their money on. The US Navy was using small nuclear reactors to power some of their submarines at the time, and the nuclear industry chose to build (relatively) small, water-cooled reactors. Except on land, you don’t really need to limit yourself to size, and larger, more containable land-based reactors would have been safer, as they are more easily contained if the “blow”. Basically, if the reactor goes critical, you can basically seal it in concrete …a lot of it. The problem with the smaller, water-cooled reactors it what we saw happen in Japan — basically, you just contaminate all the water it touches, and that is a lot of water when you are trying to keep the temperature from rising in a reactor that is going critical. So, basically, not good. The nuclear industry, and our politicians, failed us. They chose to invest in the wrong nuclear reactor design.

  2. I have limited understanding of the power industry, but I thought the energy license also allowed them to sell at Retail pricing, not just wholesale. That without it, the only choice they had with surplus energy was to sell it back to the power company at wholesale prices, (essentially just credited back). But now they can sell for a bit of profit too.. Anybody have a better understanding?

  3. Go Apple. You rock !

    I American won’t do it, and their politicians won’t either, then let enlightened companies, like Apple, step in and do the right thing

  4. No one on Walk Street paid attention to the next big thing when they announced their FEC license . Now they missed it again. AAPL is now a green energy company. Solar, fuel cells, batteries that can be scaled to run cities. What a bunch of idiots.

  5. Macdailynews, I love the fact that you picked up this Spike Milligan quote – you surprised me – didn’t expect it to be well known outside of the UK

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