Geraldine Barnuevo on General Motor’s new $7 billion EV/AV investment

December 4, 2020 by  
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Geraldine Barnuevo on General Motor’s new $7 billion EV/AV investment This video is sponsored by General Motors. “We are really accelerating the launch of our portfolio of EV products in the U.S. We want to be number one and we’re committed to that. You are going to see 30 launches between now and 2025 with new EV products.” Katie Fehrenbacher, senior writer & analyst for transportation at GreenBiz, interviewed Geraldine Barnuevo, the senior manager of environmental strategies and sustainability at General Motors, during the VERGE 20 virtual event (October 26-30, 2020). View archived videos from the conference here: https://bit.ly/3kMjeXt . taylor flores Fri, 12/04/2020 – 15:56 Featured Off

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Geraldine Barnuevo on General Motor’s new $7 billion EV/AV investment

Why wholesale markets matter to big power buyers

November 5, 2020 by  
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Why wholesale markets matter to big power buyers Adam Aston Thu, 11/05/2020 – 01:30 When a big brand such as Google, General Motors or Walmart unveils an eye-popping commitment to use more renewable energy, the news usually gets attention. And as these pledges have multiplied in number and scale, corporate energy buyers are having impacts beyond the headlines. They’re reshaping larger U.S. power trends by pulling investment into renewables. Already, roughly half of the Fortune 500 have climate and clean energy goals; over 250 large companies have committed to using 100 percent renewable energy. Corporate buyers have collectively deployed over 23 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy over the past five years, according to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). Over the next decade, renewable energy demand from Fortune 1000 companies could add 85 GW. To speed progress, REBA and its membership of 200-plus energy buyers and sellers have launched a set of guiding principles to standardize wholesale electricity markets across the U.S.  By making it easier for big power buyers to synchronize terms with utilities and project developers, the principles should stimulate investment, drive down renewable energy prices and, the alliance hopes, boost market competition while growing supply. REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 GW of new renewable energy projects over the next five years. Wholesale power markets already serve most U.S. consumers. The largest of these — such as the middle-Atlantic’s PJM or MISO, which spans Louisiana to Minnesota — straddle multiple states and coordinate the intricate flow of power from thousands of power plants, across millions of miles of wires, to tens of millions of customers. Today, roughly 80 percent of corporate power purchase agreements take place within existing wholesale energy markets, according to REBA.  The principles are significant because American businesses are making wholesale market design a central priority not just to meet their own clean energy goals but also to shape the market structures … Yet large swaths of the economy remain outside these regions. So standardizing rules for all the participants and extending wholesale markets across the entire country could enable even more deals.  In a document released during a breakout session at last week’s VERGE 20 event, REBA laid out key principles to organize extant and new wholesale markets. According to this roadmap, well-functioning wholesale energy markets are defined by three core principles which should: Unlock wholesale market competition to catalyze clean energy by ensuring a level playing field, large energy buyer participation, and services that provide actual value for energy customers. Safeguard market integrity through independent and responsive governance structures, transparency and broad stakeholder engagement and representation. Design to scale to the future by ensuring operational scale, customer-oriented options to meet decarbonization goals, alignment with federal and state public policy and predictable investment decisions. Improving wholesale markets “The principles are significant because American businesses are making wholesale market design a central priority not just to meet their own clean energy goals but also to shape the market structures that are critical to help decarbonize the entire power most affordably, for everyone,” said Bryn Baker, director of policy innovation at REBA. Operators should ensure customers have pathways to engage in decision-making, which is not always the case today, Baker explained. “Energy buyers can and want to have a seat at the table. It’s going to be really important that a broad cross-section of customer voices are present in these markets.”  From the perspective of a big buyer such as GM, an effective wholesale market can capture supply from a larger geographical area. This can help optimize for price, by buying wind one day in one region and switching to solar in another area on another day.  Diversity of sources reinforces grid resiliency, said Rob Threlkeld, GM’s global manager of sustainable energy, supply and reliability. In one region, solar power may be surging, while in another wind output is waning. “A wholesale market allows you to really match that generation with the load at the lowest cost possible,” Threlkeld said. A wholesale market allows you to really match that generation with the load at the lowest cost possible. “As we think about the wholesale markets, we want to drive toward a clean and lean grid,” Threlkeld added. “We’re moving from big, centralized plants to more decentralized operations … It allows us to optimize the grid itself, matching generation with load.” GM has accelerated its commitment to renewable energy, aiming to power 100 percent of U.S. facilities by 2030 and global operations by 2040. Wholesale markets can help, Threlkeld said, by hastening the deployment and procurement of cost-effective clean energy.  Energy consumers take the lead REBA’s efforts reflect wider trends in the energy industry, where households and big businesses alike are pushing energy companies to respond to their needs. “The conversation is shifting from a production focus to one where consumers are driving the next wave. It’s about what customers want and how they’re consuming power,” said Miranda Ballantine, REBA’s chief executive.  Localization of renewable energy is also guiding REBA’s agenda. In the past, companies had little choice but to contract renewable capacity from far-off markets. Today, more are seeking to procure renewable energy near their facilities on the same grid they operate. “More companies are saying that they want to time match those renewable electrons with their consumption,” Ballantine said.  Google recently unveiled plans that highlight the challenges corporate energy buyers face in upgrading their renewables sourcing from such a first-generation approach, where they may still use local fossil-generated energy but net that out against purchases elsewhere. In April, the internet goliath unveiled complex software-based plans to dynamically match its actual minute-by-minute consumption with low-carbon electricity supplies by region, a technical challenge no other large company has yet solved. For other companies, simply accessing regional grids with sufficient low-carbon energy remains a challenge. Somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of corporate assets are not in the kinds of regional transmission organizations (RTOs) that can draw and balance power from a wider region, Ballentine said.  “Those customers have very little opportunity in those markets to actually make choices to drive zero-carbon electrons to power their facilities,” Ballantine added. Absent organized wholesale markets, companies can’t really use their demand signals to drive change in the type of electricity they’re consuming.  Pull Quote The principles are significant because American businesses are making wholesale market design a central priority not just to meet their own clean energy goals but also to shape the market structures … A wholesale market allows you to really match that generation with the load at the lowest cost possible. Topics Renewable Energy VERGE 20 REBA Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GM’s Factory Zero program is building a new generation of EVs in a Detroit factory that will run on zero-emission power. Courtesy of General Motors Close Authorship

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Why wholesale markets matter to big power buyers

The time for electric trucks and buses is now

June 10, 2020 by  
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The time for electric trucks and buses is now Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 06/10/2020 – 01:30 Despite the pandemic, sales of electric trucks and buses are expected to surge in the United States and Canada over the next couple of years. And perhaps, surprising to many, they’ll soar even within this year (the year that can best be described as WTF).  That’s according to new data released recently by the clean-transportation-focused nonprofit CALSTART. The organization expects there to be 169 zero-emission commercial vehicles available for purchase, or soon to be available, in North America by the end of 2020; that’s a 78 percent increase from the number of zero-emission commercial vehicles available at the end of 2019. What’s more, between 2019 and 2023, the amount of zero-emission commercial vehicle models is expected to double, to 195.  Why does this matter? Because diesel-powered trucks and buses are responsible for a disproportionate amount of transportation-related carbon emissions and are also a source of air pollution, much of it in disadvantaged communities, who live closer to industrial areas or freeways. In addition, commercial vehicles are offering a bright spot for automakers that are seeing slumping sales of passenger vehicles in the wake of COVID-19.  If data and analyst predictions make your eyes glaze over, you can look at the trend another way. Companies are increasingly making zero-emission truck and bus announcements. Every day when I skim Twitter or my inbox, I see more. Here are just a few from the past couple of weeks: General Motors is making an electric van to rival Tesla. Rivian is on track with its Amazon electric delivery vans. Nikola Motors will start accepting reservations June 29 for its electric pickup truck the Badger. Ford is making an electric transit van. CALSTART says that the surge is coming from a combination of market demand, policies and economics as EV battery costs continue to drop. Big companies such as Amazon , IKEA , UPS and FedEx are making big purchases (or working with partners to make purchases). But cities across the United States are also buying EVs, including electric transit buses, garbage trucks and pickup trucks. Substantial growth in the number of commercial EV models available is particularly important for the market because model availability has long been a major hurdle. The large automakers have been pretty slow to offer a variety of models, citing a lack of demand from customers. It’s a pretty standard chicken-and-egg scenario that happens in a nascent market. But as a result, much of the early commercial EV models on the market have come from startups such as Rivian , Nikola , Chanje and Arrival . The bigger automakers are entering the market and playing catch-up.  COVID-19 also has shone a spotlight on the need for a resilient and dynamic transportation supply chain, as shippers across the country have relied heavily on trucks and truck drivers to meet unusual spikes and valleys in demand. The trucking industry, like all operators of commercial vehicles, will need to become cleaner, too, as customer demand, policies and economics evolve. This article is adapted from GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here . Topics Transportation & Mobility Electric Vehicles Electric Trucks Electric Bus Clean Fleets Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The Nikola Badger pickup truck.

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The time for electric trucks and buses is now

A bumpy ride for American automakers

March 4, 2020 by  
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Electric plans and sustainability will pave the road to the future for General Motors, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler.

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A bumpy ride for American automakers

Driving a zero-emissions future: GM’s holistic approach to meeting long-term energy goals

January 20, 2020 by  
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Sponsored: CMS Enterprises talks with global sustainability leader Rob Threlkeld of General Motors about the roles renewable energy plays in helping GM meet its energy and business goals.

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Driving a zero-emissions future: GM’s holistic approach to meeting long-term energy goals

Michelin is letting the air out of its tires: Why that matters for sustainable mobility

June 10, 2019 by  
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The 130-year-old French tire company will test the technology first on electric passenger vehicles in collaboration with General Motors.

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Michelin is letting the air out of its tires: Why that matters for sustainable mobility

A conversation with Google’s circularity maven, CSO Kate Brandt

June 10, 2019 by  
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A Q&A with Google’s resident circular economy expert and Circularity 19 advisor on how tech matters to new systems.

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A conversation with Google’s circularity maven, CSO Kate Brandt

Why the US-China trade war is leaving firms vulnerable to soy risk

June 10, 2019 by  
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China’s growing demand for soy is leaving billions of dollars of investments exposed to deforestation risks, CDP report finds.

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Why the US-China trade war is leaving firms vulnerable to soy risk

As more developing countries reject plastic waste exports, wealthy nations seek solutions at home

June 10, 2019 by  
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Malaysia sent the United States back its scrap material. Here’s what that means for curbing plastic waste.

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As more developing countries reject plastic waste exports, wealthy nations seek solutions at home

Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy at General Motors

November 5, 2018 by  
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The American auto industry isn’t what it used to be — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Market shifts and materials innovations have changed the way that cars are made, and how General Motors makes them. The global manager of renewable energy for GM, Rob Threlkeld, discussed the growth of EVs has meant to the company.

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Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy at General Motors

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