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GM to use wind power for more than 50% of annual vehicle output from Arlington Assembly plant

General Motors’ Arlington, Texas, Assembly plant will soon be able to build up to 125,000 trucks a year using wind power. Arlington Assembly produces more than 1,200 vehicles daily, including the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe; GMC Yukon and Yukon XL; and Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV. The 115 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy will be enough to manufacture more than half of the plant’s annual vehicle output.

GM signed a power purchase agreement with EDP Renewables North America, a fully owned subsidiary of EDP Renovaveis, for its first US wind power: 30 MW of energy from the planned 250 MW Hidalgo Wind Farm in Edinburg, Texas. Fifteen of the wind farm’s 261-foot-tall turbines will generate the energy GM will use.

Arlington Assembly expects to start using the clean power during the fourth quarter of 2016, avoiding about $2.8 million in energy costs annually. Over the course of the 14-year deal, GM will avoid more than 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions—equivalent to the emissions of 112 million gallons of gasoline consumed.

Renewable energy complements a robust energy efficiency program at the plant. Arlington Assembly recently met the US Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry by reducing the energy intensity of its operations by 10% in five years—the second time it met the challenge. Arlington Assembly also is investing in a new paint shop that will use half the energy of the system it will replace.

Beginning in the first quarter of 2016, wind energy will help power three GM Mexico facilities. Once on line, the company will exceed its commitment to use 125 MW of renewable energy by 2020. GM’s investments in renewable energy to date have yielded nearly $80 million in savings.

Comments

mahonj

Using wind power when the wind blows is sensible, but not heroic.
Using wind power when the wind does not blow is a bit more challenging, and yet that is what we must do. So you might add some solar (at a cost of doubling the amount of generating plant) but that still won't do it - there will always be still, dark times.
You might add enough storage to cover across most nights, but that still won't do it. You'll still have to have enough dispatchable power to bring up when there is no wind, no solar and the batteries have run down.
And that is probably going to be 3-4 times as expensive as a pure fossil / nuclear setup.
And that is the conundrum for current generation renewbles - enormous capital costs as we slot in each part of the jigsaw.

[ OK, you could use HVDC transmission lines or large scale hydro, but HVDC is expensive and hydro is not available everywhere ]

CJY

It is ironical that they are using renewable energy to produce gas guzzling SUVs and light trucks. Highlights the lack of action on the demand side of the equation. Roll on those carbon taxes.

Henry Gibson

Whilst wind turbines will exist to power part of this assembly plant, it would be more cost effective and lower carbon releases at lower cost to install micro-turbines that burn natural gas and use the waste heat from them to heat and cool the buildings and the electricity to run the lights and the equipment.

Co-Generation is the cheapest way and fastest way to reduce CO2 releases by industry even if it does burn fossil fuel; and right now much methane is being wasted in new oil and gas production, so it makes a market for this waste.

No wind project actually mentions the annual proposed energy production, only the peak production of the installed machines; and this is the same with solar, but then it is assumed that the public will compare them with either gas or coal power plants which can and frequently do produced rated peak power much of the time.

This plant you must recall is only an assembly plant much carbon was released in making and moving the materials to the plant.

As a side issue it would be much cheaper and more CO2 efficient to turn corn and cornstalks into methane than into fuel ethanol for cars and use it to power turbines for this factory. ..HG..

HarveyD

REs like Solar or Wind energies with appropriate storage units are excellent long lasting sources of e-energy.

The relative direct cost compared to dirty fossil fuel sources is unfair unless you add the multitude of indirect cost of using fossil fuels?

As E-P was saying a few days ago, how much is the atmosphere worth?

How much is our own (and other living organism) good health worth?

How much is a steady good supply of fresh water worth?

We may soon realize that burning fossil fuels is more costly than we think?

mahonj

@Harvey:
"REs like Solar or Wind energies with appropriate storage units are excellent long lasting sources of e-energy."

What "appropriate storage units" ?
Realistically, there are none - batteries are too expensive and pumped storage requires special geography or salt caverns.

It is likely that batteries will get cheap enough to bridge people near the equator (say +- 30 degrees of latitude) across the night, but this is still only a partial solution as you will get times when there is a sequence of dull days and you lose power.

You will always need a dispatchable source of power, be it hydro, nuclear or fossil, so in all cases you end up with an expensive system requiring one or more "primary" renewable sources, an overnight(at least) storage system and a dispatchable source.

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