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Honda strikes biggest deal ever by automaker to buy clean power

[NEW YORK] Honda Motor Co agreed to buy 320 megawatts of electricity from wind and solar farms in Texas and Oklahoma, marking the biggest clean-power purchase ever by an automaker.

The Tokyo-based company will use the electricity to power its factories in Ohio, Indiana and Alabama, according to a statement Monday. It will enable Honda to cut its greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing by 60 per cent in North America.

Honda is among a growing number of big companies turning to renewables as wind and solar become two of the cheapest sources of power available and as customers and investors push them to fight global warming. Corporate clean-energy purchases hit an all-time high of 13.4 gigawatts in 2018, according to BloombergNEF. They're on track to break that record this year.

"Within the last couple of years, we've begun to realise that there's only so far that energy efficiency can take you," Ryan Harty, manager for connected and environmental business development at American Honda, said in an interview. "If you want to make tremendous reductions in CO2 from energy use, you really need to delve into adopting renewable energy."

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As part of the deal announced Thursday, Honda will begin buying power in the fall of 2020 from the Boiling Springs Wind Farm in Oklahoma. The following year, it will start buying power from an undisclosed solar farm in Texas. Honda currently sources about 20 per cent of power for its North American operations from low- or zero-emission power sources.