General Motors continues to expand its use of alternative energy to power up its factories in the U.S and abroad.
In the last move, GM confirmed that its working with Consumers Energy, a utility company based in Jackson, Michigan, moving from what is described as “brown” energy to renewable energy, specifically electricity generated by a new wind farm to power two factories key factories in Flint, Michigan.
The utility said GM and Switch are the first participants in a new Consumers Energy program to help large businesses use large renewable energy sources. Both companies are now matching 100% of their electric use at key operations in Michigan with wind-generated power.
General Motors’ Flint Metal Center and Flint Engine Operations and the energy used at Switch’s Pyramid Campus, a 1.8 million-square-foot data center campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are operating entirely with energy produced by Cross Winds Energy Park II, which is located in Michigan’s Thumb region to the east of Flint.
“Switch and General Motors are leading the way for companies that want to operate efficiently in a competitive environment, yet also make and meet commitments to our planet,” said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of operations.
“We look forward to providing clean energy that will power Switch, General Motors and other large businesses that choose Michigan to locate and grow,” he added.
(GM buys more electricity from alternative power sources. Click Here for the story.)
GM shut down a coal-fired power plant that it had operated in Flint back in 2008 even before it began moving towards the wider use of alternative energy as a matter of corporate policy.
When construction of a wind farm in Ohio is complete this summer, 100% of the power to all of the company’s manufacturing operations in Ohio and Indiana will be matched with renewable energy, according to GM spokeswoman Carolyn Markey
At that point, renewable energy will power 20% of GM’s global electricity use. An expansion of wind energy also will power the Arlington Assembly plant in Texas with 100% renewable energy starting this fall.
GM use electricity generated with gas from nearby landfill to provide about 50% of the electricity for the Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Michigan, where the Chevy Bolt EV is built and in Fort Wayne, Ind. the company’s big factory for building pick-up trucks co-generates about 20% electricity using landfill gas, she noted in an email.
(Click Here for more about GM’s pledge to 100% usage of alternative energy in the U.S.)
“Corporations have a leadership opportunity to help accelerate and scale renewable energy, making it more accessible and affordable for everyone,” said Dane Parker, General Motors vice president of Sustainable Workplaces.
“The Consumers Energy program will help General Motors meet its commitment to source 100% renewable energy at all global operations by 2050, while reducing emissions in our Michigan communities and making the grid greener.”
Sustainably running the internet has been a bedrock principle of Switch since founder and CEO Rob Roy started the company in 2000. “It was a pleasure to work with Consumers Energy to continue Switch’s commitment to using 100% new, local renewable energy resources to power our data centers,” said Adam Kramer, Switch executive vice president of strategy.
Consumers Energy’s new renewable energy program for large businesses was approved last year by the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, said 10% of the energy it delivers to customers now comes from renewable sources. Consumers Energy also recently announced that more than 40% of the energy it produces will come from renewable sources and energy storage units by 2040.
(To see more about GM powering its Texas plant using wind power, Click Here.)
The energy provider’s new clean energy goals also include reducing carbon emissions by 80% and no longer using coal to generate electricity by 2040.