Ford Announces the Largest Utility Agreement in the U.S. History to Assemble All of its Vehicles in Michigan Using 100% Renewable Energy by 2025
As the world's automakers race to electrify their model lineups, there is also a push in the industry to manufacture vehicles using renewable energy, especially for zero-emission electric vehicles. A new agreement announced by Ford Motor Co and Detroit-based energy company DTE Energy represents a major step for the automaker to reach its renewable energy goals.
As part of the agreement announced on Wednesday, DTE will add 650 megawatts of new solar energy capacity in Michigan for Ford by 2025. The automaker will use this renewable solar energy to produce vehicles in Michigan.
Once installed, the solar arrays will increase the total amount of installed solar energy in Michigan by nearly 70%, according to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade organization representing the solar energy industry in the U.S.
"I want to congratulate DTE Energy and Ford Motor Company for taking this significant step to increase our state's solar energy production and to position Michigan as a leader in climate action," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
The purchase of renewable energy by Ford is part of a strategic investment in Michigan through DTE's "MIGreenPower" program and is the largest renewable energy purchase ever made in the U.S. from a utility company. The program offers electric customers like Ford a simple and affordable renewable energy option by supporting DTE Energy's wind and solar projects.
"This unprecedented agreement is all about a greener and brighter future for Ford and for Michigan," said Ford president and CEO Jim Farley. "Today is an example of what it looks like to lead… to turn talk into action."
DTE's investments in renewable energy have created more than 4,000 Michigan jobs since 2009. DTE has invested $170 million developing solar parks across Michigan since 2008. The company expects to have 11.5 million solar panels generating clean energy by 2040.
The Lapeer Solar Park, for example, has an array of 200,000 solar panels generating enough clean energy to power 11,000 homes in Michigan. These solar panels offset nearly 47,089 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to DTE.
Local communities that host DTE's renewable energy projects also receive additional tax revenue that these renewable projects generate. The additional revenue can be used for community support services including roads, schools, libraries and first responders, according to DTE.
"We want to congratulate Ford Motor Company for its environmental leadership and commitment to clean energy," said Jerry Norcia, chairman and CEO, DTE Energy. "Ford was the first large industrial customer to enroll in our MIGreenPower program in 2019 and we thank Ford for its continued commitment to using MIGreenPower to help decarbonize its operations and meet its sustainability goals."
Ford was one of the first U.S. automakers to align with the international community to limit the impacts of global warming as part of the Paris Agreement.
Volvo's electric brand Polestar also plans to produce its future EVs with renewable energy. In February, the automaker asked its suppliers to help Polestar achieve its goal of producing an entirely climate neutral EV by 2030.
Polestar signed a letter of intent to collaborate with its strategic partners, which have agreed to join forces and collaborate with the company to help the company reduce its climate impact and reach its goal.
This includes EV components such as metals, tires, safety, driving systems and electronics. The four categories are the area of focus of Polestar's Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs), which were found to make up the bulk of Polestar's current carbon footprint from producing electric vehicles.
Last month, Ford announced it will use new EV battery chemistries and secured contracts for 60 gigawatt hours (GWh) of annual battery capacity to deliver 600,000 EV globally by late 2023, which would make Ford the second-largest U.S.-based producer of electric vehicles behind Tesla.
In Michigan, Ford is making a $2 billion investment and creating nearly 2,000 new jobs in three assembly plants in the state to increase production of the all-new F-150 Lightning to 150,000 vehicles a year at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn.
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