General Motors is buying a total of 200MW of wind energy from Ohio and Indiana wind farms to power its plants in those states. Once the turbines come online by the end of 2018, renewable energy will power 20% of GM’s global electricity use.
“Congratulations to GM on this huge progress leap – a fantastic show of commitment at Climate Week NYC, and all achieved in just a year since the company joined RE100,” said Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group. “GM vocally champions the compelling business case for renewables and shares learnings with other companies. It shows other companies what’s possible.”
Once operational, the wind farms will meet 100% of the electricity needs of Fort Wayne Assembly, Marion Metal Center and Bedford Casting plants in Indiana and Lordstown Assembly, Defiance Casting Operations, Parma Metal Center and Toledo Transmission plants in Ohio.
“Technology is driving solutions for mobility and safety in our vehicles, as well as the new energy solutions that build them,” said Gerald Johnson, GMNA vice president of Manufacturing and Labor. “This is the way we do business: offering vehicles that serve our customers’ lifestyle needs while providing sustainable solutions that improve our communities.”
General Motors plans to generate or source all electrical power for its 350 operations in 59 countries with 100% renewable energy — such as wind, sun and landfill gas — by 2050. The company is leveraging a mix of renewable energy solutions to reach that goal.
“Establishing a 100% renewable energy goal helps us better serve society by reducing environmental impact,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “This pursuit of renewable energy benefits our customers and communities through cleaner air while strengthening our business through lower and more stable energy costs.”
The company uses EV batteries in tandem with a solar array to power an office building at its Milford Proving Ground in Michigan and is researching the use of fuel cells as energy storage in the future.
“We’re helping provide solutions to green the grid through these new renewable energy deals and sharing best practices with other companies so they too can reduce risk and energy costs,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of renewable energy.
”It takes time to gain traction for these initiatives and embed a sustainability culture into company DNA. It can require a “three P” method of its own: a pragmatic approach fulfilled through perseverance and supported by passion for sustainable solutions,” he added
The company utilized Altenex, an Edison Energy Company, to support their negotiation of the power purchase contracts. GM will be the sole user of the Northwest Ohio Wind farm, a 100 MW project owned by Starwood Energy Group. Swift Current Energy will provide 100 MW from its HillTopper Wind Project in Logan County, Illinois.
GM has used renewable energy for decades, saving about $5 million annually as a result. GM made its first wind purchase in 2014 for several of its Mexico operations. The company uses solar power at 26 facilities and generates electricity from landfill gas at two assembly plants.