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Michigan Ford plants to go carbon neutral

Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is planning to shift its Michigan factories to carbon-neutral energy sources by 2025.

To do so, the automaker is partnering with the utility DTE Energy on a large-scale investment that would involve building new solar arrays.

Ford CEO Jim Farley said the deal will grow Michigan's solar capacity by close to 70%.

"We feel like this moment is a way to re-found the company, because we feel like there's so much upside today that we haven't really had since we scaled the Model T. This is about manufacturing and innovation and helping power the American economy along the way," Farley said.

Officials are calling the agreement for 650 megawatts per year the largest corporate buy of clean energy through a utility company in the country's history.

"While Ford's commitment to solar energy will help the company decarbonize its southeast Michigan operations, the benefits of this project will extend throughout the state. Everybody will get to enjoy cleaner air by bringing more solar energy to the grid and creating both temporary and permanent jobs for other Michiganders," DTE CEO Jerry Norcia said.

DTE estimates that building the solar arrays will lead to 250 temporary and 10 full-time jobs.

At the announcement Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist praised the development.

"As we find our own pathways and roles to play in responding to the global climate crisis here in the state of Michigan, I know that we can not only meet our goals but exceed them," Gilchrist said.

Ford will be receiving its green energy through DTE's MIGreen Power Program. The company first joined the program in 2019.

Officials with both companies confirmed Ford's latest investment will add up to $1.75 billion over a 25-year period. The company expects to recoup some of those costs down the road with a predicted drop in the price of renewable energy.