Honda ramps up U.S. wind power capability

Honda's plant in the United States has become the first major car manufacturing site in the country to source a significant volume of electricity from on-site wind turbines. Around 10 percent of the overall electricity consumption of the Russell's Point plant in Ohio will be met by the turbines, which are expected to produce 10,000 megawatt hours of electricity each year.

The move is the latest shift towards green energy by the Japanese manufacturer, after it committed to a 30 percent cut in emissions from Honda projects and significant CO2 reductions from its plants and other operations by 2020, against 2000 levels.

In addition to the new wind energy installation, the company's new automobile production plant in Yorii, Japan, which opened in July, has rooftop thin film solar cells that supply 2.6MWh of electricity, making it the largest solar power generation system at any car factory in Japan.

Meanwhile, Honda UK introduced a 5MW solar system consisting of more than 21,000 ground mounted panels covering an area of 32 acres at its Swindon facility in 2011. The installation generates 4.5 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy, equating to 4.4 per cent of the site's total electricity requirement for the year.

Further investment in wind power will come from the company later in 2014, with the construction of a wind farm alongside its new automobile production plant in Brazil. The wind farm is expected to generate about 95,000 MWh of electricity — equivalent to Honda's current annual electricity consumption for automobile production in Brazil.

The investment is the latest development in a global trend that has seen a host of high profile corporate names, such as IKEA, Google, and Wal-Mart, step up investment in their own renewable energy capacity.

Honda image by IgorGolovniov via Shutterstock