Honda’s 'Wind'ow of Opportunity

Tue, 2014-01-21 15:30

Last week, Honda Motor Company made the announcement that ConEdison Solutions, the energy services division of Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED), is now providing electricity from two wind turbines to a Honda Motor Co. factory in Ohio, reducing the site’s demand from local power companies.wind-turbines

The 1.6-megawatt General Electric (GE) turbines went into operation on January 10th at the Russells Point, Ohio, auto factory, according to a statement. ConEdison Solutions owns and operates the turbines through its subsidiary, RP Wind LLC, and Honda is buying the electricity under a long-term contract. The turbines were developed by Juhl Energy, Inc., a company based in Pipestone, Minnesota.

Energy Innovation

The plant is the first major automotive factory in the United States to get a “substantial” amount of its energy from on-site wind turbines. According to a company statement, Honda is the only auto manufacturing plant in the U.S. to have utility-scale wind turbines on-site. A growing number of industrial and commercial customers are using electricity generated locally and buying less from utilities.

The turbines are installed “behind the meter, so all the power goes directly to the facility,” Jorge Lopez, chief executive officer of ConEdison Solutions, said in an interview. “We’ve seen a resurgence in distributed generation.” Distributed-generation systems, including rooftop solar panels and industrial fuel cells, are installed on-site and provide power directly to users.

Impact of the Turbines in Numbers

Honda estimates the turbines will supply about 10 percent of the factory’s power and will help the company reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions. Based on their location and actual wind speeds, combined output from the two wind turbines is estimated at 10,000 MWH per year. Excess electricity from the turbines will be provided to the auto plant’s neighbors.

Honda’s Environmental Leadership

Honda is a leader in the development of leading-edge technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, both in its products and its manufacturing operations.

Two Honda automobile plants in Ohio have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) ENERGY STAR certification for the sixth year, while a Honda auto plant in Indiana earned the designation for the first time in 2012, boosted by energy efficiency gains from the start of a second shift of auto production. Honda leads all automakers with 12 LEED-certified "Green Buildings" in North America, and 10 of its 14 North American manufacturing facilities are zero-waste to landfill.

Who knows? In the future, we may begin to see bumper stickers advertising “This car was made with wind power!”

Everblue offers a Basics of Wind course, which covers wind energy in a comprehensive fashion and is available in an on-demand webinar format. In it, you’ll learn about the history of wind energy, how to do wind site assessments, and what it takes to install and maintain wind energy systems and equipment. For more information, please visit our Wind Energy Training page or call us at 800-460-2575.

By Danielle Whitman