Overcoming Hurdles To Use More Renewable Energy

Last week, General Motors joined 11 other companies committed to renewable energy in signing on to the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles – a clear set of guidelines designed to help utilities and renewable energy providers understand how they can help make renewable energy investments easier for companies and meet rising demand.

As one of the manufacturing industry’s leading users of renewables, we understand the importance of harnessing the power of solar, landfill gas and biomass. We’ve made a public commitment to reach 125 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020 and we’re just over halfway there today.

Renewable energy brings business and environmental value to General Motors, our customers, and the communities in which we operate.  It reduces our carbon footprint and business risks.

More strategically, it improves energy security and supplements our commitment to a cleaner energy future through the introduction of our electric vehicles.

While the benefits are significant, the path to incorporating these large projects are often complex and require overcoming various regulatory, policy, and/or financial obstacles.   

The World Wildlife Fund and World Resources Institute formed this informal consortium of 12 companies to identify commonalities among us, share best practices and create a set of guiding principles that help the renewables market understand the needs of large renewable energy buyers, like GM, that are seeking to further increase their use of renewables.

Throughout all of our discussions, we were guided by one goal: : make renewables more affordable and accessible for all companies.

By coming together, we intend to use our experiences to help utilities and other renewable energy providers identify challenges with the current system and rise to meet unmet demand. We want to open up new opportunities for collaboration and see this growing sector flourish.

Although we’ve installed solar panels on the roof of our buildings and invested in landfill gas co-generation equipment to produce electricity from landfill gas, we’re only half-way to our goal.  We still have a lot of investing to do so it’s important to support the growth of the renewable energy market and its options.  Joining and working collaboratively with other companies and the WWF and WRI to advance the market makes good business sense and we’re pleased to be among the companies leading this movement. 

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David Tulauskas is GM’s director of sustainability responsible for developing the company’s sustainability strategy and ensuring alignment with its business model. Key activities include working with various functions to embed sustainability into their processes; sustainability reporting and external rankings/surveys; and identifying key performance indicators and goals for business planning.Tulauskas joined GM in 1991 and has held a series of positions ranging from environmental and facilities engineering to public policy and government relations to product development leading the initial launch of Cadillac vehicles in China. Nearly half of his career has been spent in Asia. Tulauskas earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, a Master of Science degree in civil/environmental engineering from Wayne State University and an International Executive MBA from Rutgers State University. He participated in the 2012 Corporate Eco Forum sustainability leadership development program in the Amazon.

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