File this under “Good news, bad news.” General Motors has just signed a 14 year deal with EDP Renewables North America, a fully owned subsidiary of EDP Renovaveis. GM will purchase about 10% of the energy produced by planned 250 MW Hidalgo Wind Farm in Edinburg, Texas. The Hidalgo wind turbines will stand 261 feet high. Texas is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s leaders in wind power deployment.
GM will save almost $3 million annually using electricity from wind rather than conventional grid sources at its Arlington, Texas assembly plant. The electricity GM gets from EDP will meet about half of the energy needs of the factory. During the term of the agreement, nearly 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide will be kept out of the atmosphere. The Hidalgo Wind Farm is expected to be fully operational by this time next year.
“Our investment is helping accelerate the proliferation of clean energy in Texas and the use of wind as a reliable, renewable source of energy,” said Jim DeLuca, GM executive vice president of Global Manufacturing. “Our sustainable manufacturing mindset benefits the communities in which we operate across the globe.”
That’s the good news. The bad news is that GM’s Arlington plant is where it builds its least fuel efficient vehicles. 1,200 Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes; GMC Yukons and Yukon XLs; and Cadillac Escalades and Escalade ESVs are built at the Arlington factory every day, 7 days a week. Thanks to unnaturally low gasoline prices, GM is struggling to keep up with demand for such ground pounding behemoths.
GM is also starting to use electricity from wind farms at its three production facilities in Mexico. Once all that power comes online, the company will exceed its commitment to use 125 MW of renewable energy by 2020. So far, GM’s commitment to renewable energy has saved the company nearly $80 million in energy costs.
The transition to renewable power will not happen just because companies like General Motors want be good corporate citizens, however. That shift will happen because these companies will be able to fatten their bottom line by doing so. How unfortunate all that renewable energy is being used to produce vehicles with the worst gas mileage.
Source: GM, via Just Means.