GM Will Soon Use Wind to Power Its Factories
General Motors wants you to know that it’s thinking about the environment.
Today, the big-name car maker announced that it will soon use wind to power its manufacturing operations. GM has signed an agreement with Enel Green Power to procure 34 megawatts of wind power from 17 wind turbines for its 104-acre Toluca Complex in Mexico, the company said in a press release.
The construction of the wind farm will begin in the second quarter of 2015, and once it’s complete, 75 percent of the energy coming from the wind turbines will fulfill most of the electricity needs of the Mexico facilities. GM says that the remaining 25 percent will help power its Silao, San Luis Potosi, and Ramos Arizpe complexes, also in Mexico, and that the project, on the whole, will help curb nearly 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions at these facilities annually.
“Our commitment to sustainable manufacturing processes is one way we serve and improve the communities in which we work and live,” Jim DeLuca, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing, said in a statement. “Using more renewable energy to power our plants helps us reduce costs, minimize risk and leave a smaller carbon footprint.”
GM is just one of many corporate giants pushing their operations towards clean energy. Elsewhere in the car industry, BMW is using hydropower to make the carbon fiber that goes into its i3 electric car. And across the internet, tech giants such as Google and Apple are using cleaner energy to power their data centers.
GM says its project will allow the company to reach its goal of using 125 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020 four years earlier. The company already uses some renewable energy—a combination of solar, landfill gas and waste to energy—to power 9 percent of its North American operations. The addition of wind power, the company says, would push its renewable energy use up to 12 percent.
“This is the largest power purchase agreement that we’ve done to date,” says Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of renewable energy. “It also helps us diversify our portfolio of energy sources—it’s cheaper than our current source of power in Mexico—and it makes sense from a sustainable standpoint.”