Our continued investment enables us to grow our business while decreasing our carbon footprint and minimizing the risks associated with energy-related volatility. GM’s renewable portfolio includes solar, landfill gas, hydro and waste-to-energy, totaling 106.57 megawatts (MW) today as we work toward a goal of 125 MW by 2020. Investments in renewable energy to date have yielded nearly $80 million in savings.
We continue to invest in solar power, with more installations in the U.S. than any other automaker and the second-highest percentage of solar use among all commercial users, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. With the addition of 2 MW in early 2016, GM will house 48 MW of solar power at 22 facilities around the world. In 2015, we increased renewable energy use by more than 1.4 MW to reach just over 106 MW globally, primarily from the addition of solar power projects in Kentucky, New York, Indiana and Michigan.
Our Baltimore Operations complex in White Marsh, Maryland, where electric motors for the Chevrolet Spark EV are manufactured, went greener in 2015 with the addition of a 580 kilowatt (KW) rooftop solar array. This, combined with its existing 1.23 MW solar rooftop array, means 6 percent of the facility’s electricity now comes from renewables. The building received Silver LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council due to such upgrades, in addition to installing light-emitting diode, or LED, exterior lighting and using compact fluorescent lighting in production areas.
Also during 2015, we implemented our first renewable energy project in Canada, creating a micro-hydro energy-generating system at our St. Catharines Engine Plant in Ontario. The system saves 1.3 MW of energy by using water from the adjacent St. Lawrence Seaway, requiring less electricity to run pumps and fans by providing cooling water to maintain the appropriate temperature of process equipment in the plant. During peak periods, gravity-fed, cool water can save 2,000 KW of electricity. This amounts to 8,600 MW of electricity savings annually and avoids 800 tons of CO2 emissions.
In a demonstration of how far we push innovation in renewable energy use, five used Chevrolet Volt batteries are storing and contributing power to our new Enterprise Data Center at the Milford Proving Ground in Michigan. A 74 KW solar array and two 2 KW wind turbines, along with the Volt batteries, work in parallel to generate enough power to provide all the energy needs to the Center’s administration building. Together, these renewable sources generate approximately 100 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy annually, roughly equivalent to the energy used by 12 average households. This reuse of batteries represents our first real-world commercial application of energy storage, as well as a circular economy approach for a key automotive component, demonstrating how we can reduce waste while delivering economic benefits on an industrial scale. The reuse of Volt batteries also helped this facility attain LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2015.
Our Fort Wayne, Indiana, assembly plant ranked fifth among EPA’s top 30 generators of onsite green power in 2015. The facility is 30 percent powered by methane gas captured from decomposing trash in a nearby landfill, generating 53 million kilowatt-hours (KWh) of green power, equivalent to the electricity use of more than 4,400 American homes annually. This marks the 13th year that Fort Wayne has used landfill gas for energy. The facility also finished construction on a 14.4 KW solar array in 2015. These renewable energy commitments put GM in EPA’s Green Power Leadership Club in the category of Onsite Generation.
In 2016, our renewable commitments will expand, once again, as we move into wind power generation for the first time. In the last quarter of 2016, wind energy will start helping power three GM Mexico facilities through a power purchase agreement with Enel Green Power, which operates a massive wind farm in Palo Alto, Mexico. Approximately 75 percent of the energy coming from the wind turbines will power most of GM’s 104-acre Toluca Complex, making it the company’s largest user of renewable energy. The remaining capacity will help power the Silao, San Luis Potosí and Ramos Arizpe manufacturing complexes. The use of renewable energy is helping these facilities avoid nearly 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
By the end of 2016, wind power also will be helping provide for 55 percent of our Arlington, Texas, assembly plant’s electricity demand, or the equivalent to building up to 125,000 trucks per year with clean energy. The 115 million KWh of renewable energy will help us avoid about $2.8 million in energy costs annually and more than 1 million metric tons of CO2 over the life of the 14-year wind-power agreement.
Beyond investing in renewable energy, GM is a leader in advocating for the industrial use of renewable energy sources. We are a founding member of the Business Renewables Center (BRC) (http://www.businessrenewables.org), a collaborative platform launched in early 2015 by the Rocky Mountain Institute to accelerate corporate renewable energy procurement. We sit on the advisory board and provide input to support a BRC goal of doubling U.S. capacity of wind and solar by 2025. Due in part to our influence on industry peers, BRC has expanded to nearly 60 members. GM is also a founding signatory to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles (Principles) (http://www.buyersprinciples.org), a guiding framework for BRC’s efforts, as the Principles help the energy market understand how they can make renewable energy investments easier for companies like GM.