GM Accelerates Renewables Pledge With 50MW Texas Wind Farm Deal

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

General Motors has made its largest renewable energy purchase to date by signing a new power purchase agreement (PPA) with a 150MW wind farm currently under development in Texas.

Announced last week, the deal will see the car manufacturer purchase one third of the power produced by the Cactus Flats facility, providing enough power for 16 of GM’s US facilities.

Operated by global clean energy developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES), the wind farm is expected to come online during the first half of 2018 when the PPA contract commences.

GM said it would source more than 193,000MWh of electricity from wind farms annually, enough to power its Austin IT Innovation Center, a GM Financial office in Fort Worth and 13 parts warehouses.

Its GM Arlington Assembly plant, which is already 50 per cent powered by renewable energy, will also have all of its electricity needs met with green power.

The carmaker – which aims to power its entire operations across 59 countries with renewables by 2050 as part of its commitment to the RE100 initiative – said the addition of the new wind farm deal means six per cent of its global electricity use will come from renewables.

The company said that in addition to utilising an anticipated 114MW of wind power within the next two years, GM hosts 24 solar installations around the world.

Shortly before joining the RE100 campaign in September, GM also unveiled its first mass-market fully-electric car – the Chevy Bolt – which can drive for 238 miles on a fully charged battery, giving it a longer range than the Tesla Model 3 vehicle.

Rob Threlkeld, GM’s global manager of renewable energy, said the firm’s commitment to renewables would help to make the company stronger.

“These renewable energy investments drive down greenhouse gas emissions, reduce our dependence on finite resources, and help keep our air and water clean,” said Threlkeld. “Investing in Texas wind energy is an important step on a journey that will see clean, renewable sources account for 100 per cent of GM’s global energy footprint by 2050.”

The RE100 campaign, which is led by the Climate Group in partnership with CDP as part of the We Mean Business Coalition, brings together more than 70 large global corporations, such as IKEA, Apple and Coca-Cola Enterprises.

Amy Davidsen, The Climate Group’s executive director for North America, said: “It’s fantastic to see General Motors putting words into action so soon after their joining RE100. GM has already saved millions of dollars by using renewable energy – going 100 per cent renewable makes business sense.”