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Cruise is purchasing solar energy from California farm owners to power its electric, self-driving cars

Sep, 2021

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Farm to Fleet is a Project for rapidly reducing urban mobility emissions while producing new income for California's renewable energy farm owners.

Cruise, General Motors' autonomous car company, has initiated a project Farm to Fleet, that will allow the firm to supply solar power from farms in Central Valley, California. Cruise is directly purchasing RECs from Moonlight Companies and Sundale Vineyards to drive its San Francisco fleet of all-electric self-driving vehicles.

Cruise recently obtained approval to shuttle commuters in its test cars without the need for a human safety operator behind the wheel in San Francisco. With the latest US$ 5 billion lines of credit from GM Financial to charge for hundreds of electric and self-driving Origin vehicles, the company is also speeding up its path to commercialization. While this collaboration with California farm owners is beneficial to the state's efforts to advance renewable power while also employing people and economic opportunities.

In anticipation of heat waves that will increase electricity demand and possibly cause power outages, the California Independent System Operator has indeed been soliciting power generators across the western U.S. to offer more megawatts to the state in summer. Droughts, power outages, and delays in integrating new energy generation sources into the grid have indeed led to lower hydroelectric generation than expected.

To make sure that California's grid can manage the significant increase in fleet size that Cruise is expecting, it appears that the company will have to come up with strategies to strengthen the grid. Cruise, on the other hand, insists that it has bigger goals than simply obtaining energy from whichever sources are appropriate. Cruise has said it is paying just not as much as it would have paid for other types of renewable energy credits (RECs). Cruise is paying agreed contractual rates with the farms via its REC companion, BTR Energy. Cruise has not disclosed how many RECs it intends to purchase from the farms, but it has stated that it is sufficient to power its San Francisco fleet.

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