Distributed Energy Resources

GM partners with TVA for the supply of renewable energy

General Motors will secure half of the 200-megawatt solar farm recently announced by the Tennessee Valley Authority in Lowndes County, Miss., which is being developed by Origis Energy.

In March, TVA announced a contract with Origis Energy to develop the 200-MW solar site for TVA. The project also includes 200 megawatt hours of battery energy storage, which will make the solar power generated by the installation more efficient and able to be used when it is most valuable to the system.

GM eventually wants its U.S. facilities to source 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy.

GM will source renewable energy for its Spring Hill, Tenn., manufacturing facility through TVA’s Green Invest program. At Spring Hill, operations will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy by 2022.

Under Green Invest, companies receive renewable energy certificates. Companies initiate a project and TVA sources the power through power purchase agreements.

TVA’s public power model “is the reason that we have the flexibility to offer customers Green Invest,” noted Scott Fiedler, a TVA spokesperson.

At 2,100 acres, Spring Hill is GM’s largest facility in North America. The company builds the GMC Acadia, the Cadillac XT5 and XT6 models, as well as several engines at the Tennessee Valley plant.

Through the Green Invest program, TVA brokered a competitive bidding process to identify the right provider at the right cost for large-scale solar on behalf of GM.

The GM announcement follows two other major Green Invest partnerships. In March, Knoxville Utilities Board committed to use Green Invest to produce carbon-free energy equivalent to 8% of KUB’s annual electric load. In January, TVA’s first Green Invest agreement between TVA, Nashville Electric Service, Vanderbilt University, and Silicon Ranch for 35 MW of new solar for the university was announced.

TVA is a leader in clean energy, with nearly 60 percent of its energy supply coming from carbon-free sources (including nuclear and hydro), making it the highest percentage of clean generation among regional peers.