Published on May 23rd, 2020 |
by Steve Hanley
May 23rd, 2020 by Steve Hanley
General Motors has signed a power purchase agreement with the TVA for 100 MW of electricity as part of its plan to power its manufacturing facility in Spring Hill, Tennessee with 100% renewable energy by 2022. The PPA will use one half of the total output from a 200 MW solar power plant being built in Columbus, Mississippi as part of the TVA Green Invest program. The utility has been late getting out of the starting blocks when it comes to the renewable energy revolution, but better late than never, as the saying goes.
The agreement with the TVA is expected to help boost GM’s use of renewable energy to more than 50% of its sourced electricity by 2023, moving GM closer to its goal of getting all of its electricity from renewables in the United States by 2030 at GM-owned sites, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “Our commitment to renewable energy is part of our vision of a world with zero emissions,” said Dane Parker, GM chief sustainability officer. “We’re committed to using our scale and relationships to increase renewable energy demand and availability.”
The Spring Hill factory, originally constructed for the company’s ill-fated Saturn division, is the largest GM site in North America. It covers 2,100 acres and currently builds the GMC Acadia and the Cadillac XT5 and XT6 automobiles. Seven hundred acres are dedicated to farming with an additional 100 acres dedicated to a wildlife habitat composed of wetlands and native grasses.
“We’re excited that GM chose Green Invest because TVA’s ability to meet the renewable energy needs of our customers will drive vital investment and jobs across our seven state region,” TVA President Jeff Lyash said in a statement. “Moving forward, large scale solar installations provide the best value for our customers to help meet their sustainability goals which makes Green Invest a win for everyone.”
GM is the third major Green Invest project announcement this year. In January, Vanderbilt University announced an agreement with TVA and Nashville Electric Service to get power from a new 35 megawatt solar farm planned in Bedford County to help meet its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. In March, the Knoxville Utilities Board announced plans to build its own 212 MW solar farm in conjunction with TVA’s Green Invest program to help meet the goals of private companies wanting to buy only renewable power.
The Green Invest program is modeled on similar agreements made in 2018 with Facebook and Google, which are buying power from new solar power plants already completed in Alabama and Tennessee. TVA is bolstering its solar energy capacity by adding 484 MW this year. “We are moving to contract large volumes of solar for our customers, whether it’s for large business customers or smaller businesses or residential customers who use our Renewable Energy Certificate to help offset their carbon footprint,” says TVA vice president Doug Perry.