New wind deals will transition all GM's Ohio, Indiana facilities to 100% renewable energy - Smart Energy Decisions

Industrial, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  September 19, 2017

New PPAs convert GM Ohio, Indiana facilities to wind

 Advancing toward a 100% renewable energy goal for its global operations, General Motors Co. on Sept. 19 announced two new wind deals that will meet the electricity needs of all of its Ohio and Indiana manufacturing facilities. 

The Detroit-based automaker is buying a total of 200 MW of energy from two wind farms, one in each state. GM's Ohio and Indiana facilities include those that build the Chevrolet Cruze and Silverado and GMC Sierra light-duty pickup trucks. Once the turbines come online by the end of 2018, renewable energy will power 20% of GM's global electricity use.

Once the turbines come online by the end of 2018, renewable energy will power 20% of GM's global electricity use, according to a news release. GM will be the sole user of the Northwest Ohio Wind farm, a 100 MW project owned by Starwood Energy Group, and Swift Current Energy will provide 100 MW from its HillTopper Wind Project in Logan County, Illinois. Altenex, an Edison Energy company and independent renewable energy advisor, supported GM in the negotiation of the power purchase contracts.

"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."

GM is leveraging energy efficiency and a mix of onsite and offsite renewable energy solutions to reach its 100% renewable energy goal. The company's four-part strategy acknowledges how its energy and product strategies intersect. 

GM Global Manager of Renewable Energy Rob Threlkeld wrote in a Sept. 19 blog post that the company's "three Ps" approach — people, planet and profit — to sustainability helped to reach execution on the deals. 

The new wind deals are enough to meet 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.

Editor's note: Threlkeld, who is also a Smart Energy Decisions advisory board member, shared further insights into the company's strategy at the Innovation Summit earlier this year. An edited transcript of his comments is available here

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