Company News

Lordstown Among GM Plants Getting Wind Power

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – By the end of 2018, all General Motors Corp. manufacturing plants in Ohio and Indiana – including the Lordstown Assembly Complex here – will get all of their electricity from renewable resources. The company announced Tuesday that it is buying 200 megawatts of wind energy from wind farms in Ohio and Illinois.

“Any time the company is investing anything in your facility, it’s a good thing,” said Glenn Johnson, president of UAW Local 1112.

Earlier this month, General Motors announced that it was adding three weeks of downtime at the plant in September and October, leading to concerns about the plant’s future as sales of the Chevrolet Cruze sagged nationwide. The shutdown followed three-week shutdowns in both July and March

“I applaud GM for taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and to use alternative sources to produce electricity for our facility,” Johnson added.

Once the turbines are active, 20% of GM’s global electricity use will come from renewable sources. Last year, GM announced a plan to generate electricity for all of its plants on-site by 2050.

“Technology is driving solutions for mobility and safety in our vehicles, as well as the new energy solutions that build them,” said Gerald Johnson, GM North America’s vice president of manufacturing and labor, in a statement. “This is the way we do business: offering vehicles that serve our customers’ lifestyle needs while providing sustainable solutions that improve our communities.”

Wind power will be used at the Lordstown Assembly, Defiance Casting Operations, Parma Metal Center and Toledo Transmission Plant in Ohio and Fort Wayne Assembly, Marion Metal Center and Bedford Casting Plant in Indiana.

Details of the purchase were not released, although GM did say it would be the sole user of Starwood Energy Group’s Northwest Ohio Wind project in Van Wert and Paulding counties. In a release, Starwood said GM’s use of the 100-megawatt farm would “equivalently avoid the CO2 emissions of over 48,000 passenger vehicles.”

“We’re helping provide solutions to green the grid through these new renewable energy deals and sharing best practices with other companies so they too can reduce risk and energy costs,” said Rob Threlkeld, General Motors’ global manager of renewable energy. “With a pragmatic strategy, companies can turn ambitious renewable energy goals into action and scale quickly.”

GM’s first wind purchase was in 2014 to support plants in Mexico. The auto manufacturer also uses solar power at 26 plants, including Lordstown, and gets electricity from landfill gas at two sites. The use of renewable resources saves the company about $5 million a year, GM says.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.