GM sets earlier deadline for all-renewable energy

Source: By Will Englund, Washington Post • Posted: Sunday, October 3, 2021

If it meets its 2025 goal, the automaker will join a growing list of U.S. companies that get all their power from renewable sources

General Motors may be joining a growing list of U.S. businesses that get all their power from renewable sources. (Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg News)

GM’s rival, the Ford Motor Co., has said it will meet the same goal for all its operations, domestic and international, by 2035.

“We know climate action is a priority and every company must push itself to decarbonize further and faster,” the company’s chief sustainability officer, Kristen Siemen, said in a statement.

As of July 26, the Environmental Protection Agency announced, companies and government agencies that rely solely on “green” power had used more than 39 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, which is equivalent to the annual electricity use of nearly 3.7 million average American homes. The list includes 386 organizations, encompassing tech firms, financial companies, retailers, manufacturers, airports and cities — including Dallas and Washington.

Several factors should enable GM to eliminate electricity from fossil-fuel-powered plants, the company’s announcement said. Among them are the introduction of more energy efficiencies companywide to reduce overall demand for electricity, investment in renewable energy power sources, and the development of new energy storage technology such as batteries to enable the company to overcome intermittent production by wind or solar farms.

The automaker also said it will track its real-time carbon emissions through a collaboration with TimberRock, which has developed software to gauge emissions of a customer’s energy consumption, and PJM Interconnection, the electricity transmission operator for the region that extends from New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Virginia, and west as far as northern Illinois.

The company is now struggling through a protracted recall of its Chevy Bolt EV, after it determined that its batteries were defective and could cause fires. The recall began with 50,000 cars in November 2020, grew to nearly 70,000 in July, then added another 70,000 from the 2019 and 2020 model years on Aug. 20.

GM said on Sept. 20 that production of battery modules has resumed and that replacement parts could be available by mid-October. The recall has cost $1.8 billion. GM and its battery supplier, LG, are negotiating a settlement.