GM Soon To Build Cars With Wind Power

General Motors will be using wind power for the first time to power its automotive manufacturing operations.

General Motors (GM) is doing so to answer one of its Mexico facilities’ electricity needs, allowing it to be run mostly on renewable energy.

GM stated this addition of 34 megawatts of wind power allows the company to achieve its corporate goal of renewable energy use four years early.

Construction of the wind farm is said to begin in the second quarter of this year.

The company said once the wind mill project is complete, more than 12 percent of its North American energy consumption will come from renewable energy sources, up from 9 percent.

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GM added current renewable energy use – comprised of solar, landfill gas and waste to energy – totals 104 megawatts against a goal of 125 megawatts by 2020.

Seventy-five percent of the energy coming from the wind turbines will power most of GM’s Toluca Complex sitting on 104 acres, making it the company’s largest user of renewable energy, per GM. The remaining capacity will help power its Silao, San Luis Potosi and Ramos Arizpe complexes.

GM added the use of renewable energy helps these facilities avoid nearly 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

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“Our commitment to sustainable manufacturing processes is one way we serve and improve the communities in which we work and live,” said Jim DeLuca, GM executive vice president of Global Manufacturing. “Using more renewable energy to power our plants helps us reduce costs, minimize risk and leave a smaller carbon footprint.”

GM is not building its own wind farm, but signed a power purchase agreement with Enel Green Power, which is developing and constructing a large wind farm in Palo Alto, Mexico. GM’s use of 34 megawatts of energy is said to be equivalent to the power produced by 17 wind turbines.

“Mexico is an ideal location for our first wind project,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of renewable energy. “Energy is fed to a national grid, making it easier to reduce or add energy capacity at a facility. There’s also a good business case as prices for traditional power are about a third greater than the United States. Once online, we’ll evaluate the project to better understand how we can expand the use of wind power.”