GM Five Years Ahead of Renewable Energy Goals

General Motors Co. in Detroit announced it plans to source 100 percent renewable energy to power its U.S sites by 2025 — five years ahead of the previously announced goal, and 25 years ahead of the automaker’s first target set in 2016.
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gm solar plant in hamtramck
A 516-kilowatt ground-mount photovoltaic solar array at GM’s Factory Zero in Hamtramck is an example of technologies the company will use to reach its goal five years ahead of schedule. // Courtesy of GM

General Motors Co. in Detroit announced it plans to source 100 percent renewable energy to power its U.S sites by 2025 — five years ahead of the previously announced goal, and 25 years ahead of the automaker’s first target set in 2016.

By accelerating its renewable energy goal, GM seeks to avoid 1 million metric tons of carbon emissions that would have been produced in the five years it shaved off its target.

“We know climate action is a priority and every company must push itself to decarbonize further and faster,” says Kristen Siemen, chief sustainability officer at GM. “That’s what we are doing by aiming to achieve 100 percent renewable energy five years earlier in the U.S. as we continue to advance on our commitment to lead an all-electric, carbon-neutral future.”

Earlier this year, the company announced its science based targets, as well as plans to become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040, which aligned with the aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035. GM has committed to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles and plans to introduce more than 30 electric vehicle models globally by 2025.

As GM works towards fulfilling these commitments, it is focusing its efforts on four pillars:

  • Increasing energy efficiency: The goals begin with reducing energy consumption by improving energy efficiency.
  • Sourcing renewables: In alignment with this announcement, GM sources renewable energy through direct investment, green tariffs and power purchase agreements.
  • Addressing intermittency: The company is creating technology to store renewable over medium and long periods to eliminate disruption by external fluctuations.
  • Policy advocacy: GM will support policies that enable a carbon-free, resilient power system.

Additionally, GM announced it is collaborating with PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization based in Norristown, Penn. and TimberRock, a technology-enabled energy company based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to track the real-time carbon emissions at GM’s facilities associated with electricity use.

The carbon tracking initiative will allow GM to make decisions about its energy consumption based on the carbon output of the grid at a given time. This means when the power supply consists mostly of fossil fuels, the company can tap into stored renewable power or reduce its energy usage.

Finally, the company announced it has signed on to participate in Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, an initiative that brings together public and private sector partners to help advance the commercialization of technology that it believes supports its equitable climate goals.

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