An ambitious renewable energy goal years in the making was reached ahead of schedule, according to General Motors Wednesday. By reaching the goal, General Motors is expected to avoid the production of an estimated 1 million metric tons of carbon emissions that would have been produced between 2025 and 2030.
GM has announced that it has been able to secure 100% of the energy needed to power all its U.S. facilities by 2025 which is five years ahead of the 2030 target announced in early 2021, and is also 25 years ahead of the initial target of 2050, set back in 2016.
“We believe it is critical — to ourselves, to our customers, and to the future of the planet — to step up our efforts and reach ambitious targets that move us closer to a more sustainable world,” says Kristen Siemen, GM chief sustainability officer. “Securing the renewable energy we need to achieve our goal demonstrates tangible progress in reducing our emissions in all aspects of our business, ultimately moving us closer to our vision of a future with zero emissions.”
Sourcing renewable energy is a critical component of GM’s plans to decarbonize. The company’s renewable energy strategy is rooted in four pillars:
- Increasing Energy Efficiency: GM’s energy goals begin with reducing energy consumption by improving energy efficiency. For 11 years, GM has been awarded the EPA Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award for its energy efficiency efforts.
- Sourcing Renewables: While it works to minimize the amount of energy required to run its facilities, GM also sources renewable energy through direct investment, on-site generation, green tariffs, and power purchase agreements. This is the main way through which GM is achieving its renewable energy goal.
- Addressing Intermittency: GM is creating technology to store renewable energy over the medium and long term, so its power consumption is not disrupted by external fluctuations.
- Policy Advocacy: Policy efforts are essential to expanding transmission, creating microgrids that help deploy renewable energy, and enabling markets to price these solutions to enable a carbon-free resilient power system. GM supports policies that enable a carbon-free, resilient power system.
To help achieve its goals, GM has added 16 renewable energy plants across 10 states to its renewable energy portfolio. GM is the largest off-taker of renewable power in the industry, leading all automotive OEMs, and since 2017, it has been able to produce over $75 million of positive cash flow from this portfolio.
In 2019, GM formed what is now known as the Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA), which is the largest group of corporate renewable energy buyers in the US. The association helps bring companies together to unlock market access, helping organizations of all sizes find cost-effective pathways to buying renewable energy.
“General Motors has been a trailblazer in corporate clean energy procurement for manufacturing facilities for over a decade,” said Miranda Ballentine, CEO of the Clean Energy Buyers Association. “Today’s announcement of securing the energy needed to achieve their 2025 goal is another example of their leadership. But even more impressive has been GM’s commitment to sharing their learnings and guiding other corporations who want to follow their lead. In a world of high competition, this community orientation is truly wonderful.”
In 2021, GM announced its Science Based Targets for emissions reduction and plans to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040. The company also plans to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new US light-duty vehicles by 2035. GM has committed to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025, with plans to reach more than 1 million units of annual EV capacity in each North America and China by the end of 2025.
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