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The Final Word by Chuck Swann
December is Energy Month at Paperitalo Publications, but once in a while something in the news merits jumping the gun on one of our monthly emphases. That something-in-the-news now is the announcement by General Motors, one of the world's biggest manufacturing companies, that it is committing to power all its global operations completely from renewable energy sources by the year 2050.

To quote an article by Melissa Burden in the Detroit News, "The Detroit automaker said its goal is to generate or source electrical power for 350 facilities in 59 countries with renewable wind, sun and landfill gas energy during the next three-plus decades."


Hurry! Time is getting short to register for the 7th Annual Light Green Machine Institute Conference (16 - 18 Oct 16 in Raleigh, NC)


GM is joining RE100, a global collaborative of 69 companies that are pledging eventual 100% renewable electricity use. GM is not the only automaker on that list. India's Tata Motors and Germany's BMW Group have also taken the pledge. BMW's hurry-up intermediate goal is to get more than two-thirds of its electricity requirements from renewable sources by 2020. Other businesses that have pledged to get power only from renewable sources include Ikea, Google, Hewlett Packard and Steelcase.

In 2015, GM needed nine terawatt hours of electricity to build cars and trucks and power offices, tech centers and warehouses around the globe. The company had a goal of using 125 megaWatts of renewable energy by 2020. It expects to surpass that goal by the end of 2016, when two new wind-energy fields start up to help GM power four of its manufacturing plants.

"Trickle down" may be an arguable economic theory, but it is an unarguable fact when it comes to the influence of big companies over smaller ones. Smaller companies--nationally and globally--will be driven to emulate the larger ones if they want to do business, and stay in business. The drive for renewable energy sources by big companies cannot be ignored by smaller companies. The industrial turn away from fossil fuels and toward cleaner, renewable energy is as inexorable as the ocean tide.

Predictably, when a big company "goes green," it is not long before they begin asking their suppliers how they, in turn, are greening up. And the suppliers then start asking their suppliers about it, and so forth, ad infinitum. Count on it. And for coming developments on the energy front--stay tuned!

Chuck Swann is Senior Editor of Paperitalo Publications.

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