General Motors Ventures, which the automaker set up to help fund the development of new and promising technology, made a $10 million investment in Wind Catching Systems AS, which is pioneering a new source of renewable energy.
“As GM continues to move towards an all-electric future, it’s critical that we simultaneously drive the transition of the grid to low-carbon energy sources,” said Kristen Siemen, GM’s chief sustainability officer.
“GM Ventures’ investment in offshore wind with Wind Catching Systems represents an opportunity to accelerate innovative technology to market, advancing a cleaner, more reliable, and resilient energy future.”
Wind Catching Systems’ goal is to establish floating, offshore wind operations to produce electricity at a cost that competes with other energy sources, without subsidies.
New technology is more efficient
The technology is expected to cut acreage use by more than 80% and increase efficiency significantly in comparison to conventional floating offshore wind farms, according to WCS executives.
“WCS is proud to announce GM as a strategic collaborator and GMV as investor for the next stage of our technology development and commercialization journey, providing additional long-term and competent capital from a global leader in technology and transportation industrialization,” said Ole Heggheim, WCS’ CEO.
Wind Catching Systems’ technology is projected to have a structural design life of 50 years, should cost substantially less to maintain than conventional floating offshore wind solutions, and will aim to solve sustainability issues related to recycling, marine resources and carbon dioxide emissions from installation and maintenance.
In addition, one Wind Catching unit is expected to have the same annual production as five conventional 15 MW offshore wind turbines.
Invest now with big payoff later
General Motors Ventures and WCS have entered into a strategic agreement for collaboration covering technology development, project execution, offshore wind policy and the advancement of sustainable technology applications.
However, it’s not GM’s only effort involving wind power generation.
GM struck a 20-year deal earlier this year with CMS Energy Corp. to allow GM to operate factories in Flint, Michigan, including the company’s enormously profitable truck assembly plant, and another plant in Wyoming, Michigan, just outside Grand Rapids, exclusively on electricity generated by the wind.
The car company is offsetting 235,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions produced by 51,000 cars, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calculations, the utility noted.
Additionally, GM’s 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.
Even back in 2016, the company’s switched its Arlington, Texas plant over to wind power to build those highly profitable full-size pickups and sport-utility vehicles.