Apple is now entering the U.S. energy market as subsidiary Apple Energy LLC. This, much like other Apple news, was kept a secret until just recently. The LLC is registered in Delaware but will be managed from Cupertino. The goal is for Apple to be able to sell its excess energy from its Nevada and Cupertino solar farms.
Apparently, Apple is creating such an abundance of energy, it wants to sell it throughout the whole country. Generally, in such situations, the company would be required to sell the energy directly back to the power companies. This has been the case with other companies in the past.
However, Apple is pushing to be able to sell directly to consumers at market prices due to not being previously established in the energy market and having no ability to influence pricing. While this strategy is more rare, others have succeeded in setting the system up this way. Green Mountain Power sells renewable energy to U.S. homeowners, so Apple should be able to do the same.
Apple needs to assure that its farms can generate enough energy to power its operations. In order to operate at 100% renewable energy, (since the sun only shines during the day, and Apple stores are open at night and the company has 24/7 services) the company must sell its daytime overcapacity back to the energy companies at wholesale in “trade” for more costly metered energy at needed times. This is why Apple hopes to sell the excess to users at retail prices instead.
With Apple’s recent hire of four people with expertise in electric car charging, and its plan to build an entire network of charging stations, this is all big news. Apple could create major competition over Tesla and others if it can house its own renewable energy for the project. The company could also be planning to use its own energy in various ways for other facets of Project Titan, as it is working on building the electric Apple Car.
Add to all of this that Apple just received permission to use a new “green” method for harnessing energy. Currently, solar and wind are the primary methods used in renewable energy generation. The new method will use pipelines in landfills to trap the release of methane gas. The gas will be converted to usable gas or used to generate electricity. This will also prevent the “greenhouse gas” from escaping and impacting the ozone layer.
Apple already has a substantial data center powered partly by “biogas” in North Carolina. The report said:
A new lease agreement between Catawba County and Apple will allow for the construction of a renewable energy facility that harnesses landfill gas […] The lease lasts for 16 years with an option to go five years longer.
In a separate Landfill Gas Sales Agreement with Quadrogen Power Systems, Inc., the county agreed to sell about 40 percent of its landfill methane. Quadrogen will treat the methane for use in the Apple facility.