Sure, Apple can now sell energy, but Google started the trend in 2010


Google received FERC permission to sell energy in February 2010

News broke last week that tech giant Apple of iPhone fame is now also an energy company. But that’s old news — Google already played that card all the way back in 2010.

Apple has long been considered one of the “greener” U.S. companies because of its love of solar energy. The device-maker become so proficient at creating energy that it figured it might as well start selling it. So, Apple filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the right to sell its excess power from its electricity generating facilities, which largely utilize solar energy.

The FERC granted Apple permission, and now all that’s left to see is how aggressive Apple will be in actually selling this green power.

Google yawns

The booming reports of Apple’s twist into an energy company must feel a bit like deja vu for Google, as the FERC granted the search engine monstrosity the right to behave like a utility way back in February 2010.

Apple’s iPhone 4 didn’t even exist yet in February 2010 — the iPhone 4 launched on June 24, 2010.

The order FERC order specifically stated that Google, through its subsidiary Google Energy, has the rights “for the sale of energy, capacity, and ancillary services at market-based rates.” Many speculated that Google Energy was created largely to help Google offset its extremely high energy use (and resulting high energy bills).

That belief may be true, as Google has yet to make a big move in retail sales of energy. But that doesn’t mean that the search engine behemoth won’t become a true seller of energy in the future.

What we know right now

Right now, we know that Apple (or more specifically, its subsidiary) has been an official energy company for about a week and Google (or, again, its subsidiary) has been one for more than six years. Both companies are well positioned to make a much larger move in the energy industry in the coming years (especially Google at this point in time), but the specifics remain to be seen.