Powering a Cleaner Grid Through Green Tariffs

Mar 12, 2018 9:00 AM ET

This week, General Motors became one of the first companies in Michigan to participate in a new Consumers Energy program that will allow the company to match 100 percent of the electricity used at its Flint Metal Center and Engine Operations with wind energy generated from Cross Winds Energy Park II in Michigan.

Through this electricity agreement – also known as a green tariff – General Motors will be closer to its goal to source 100 percent renewable energy across its global operations by 2050.

While still a relatively new model in the U.S., green tariffs are quickly becoming a useful tool for global companies, institutions and homeowners to source renewable energy at an affordable price. For example, Switch, a technology infrastructure corporation that designs and builds the world’s most advanced data centers, is also participating in the Consumers Energy program.

These large-scale renewable energy purchasing programs offer a more collaborative and flexible approach to procuring renewable electricity from local utilities at a fixed price.

For General Motors, this pilot program will not only make it easier for the company to source enough energy to power key Michigan manufacturing operations, but it will also help the company reduce emissions and contribute to a cleaner grid. As the company believes the future is electric, a greener grid will also help maximize the value of electric vehicles.

“One element of our leadership to a zero emissions future is helping make renewable energy more accessible and affordable for everyone,” said Dane Parker, vice president of Sustainable Workplaces. “A key enabler in this journey is working with local governments and utility partners to influence policy changes that will help grow corporate renewable energy use.”

While there is currently a cap on how much energy can be produced and used as part of this pilot, the company intends to use the learnings from this initial program to refine its procurement strategy moving forward.

A decades-long approach to sourcing renewable energy has produced best practices and helped the company continue to reduce its environmental footprint. Later this year, new wind farms currently under construction will power all of General Motor’s Ohio and Indiana manufacturing facilities. An expansion of wind energy will power the Arlington Assembly plant in Texas with 100 percent renewable energy starting this fall.  

To learn more about General Motors’ participation in the Consumer Energy pilot program, click here.  Download the renewable energy blueprint and visit gm.green for more information on the company’s progress and plans.