Industry accounts for approximately 33% of the energy consumed in the United States. A good deal of this energy is simply wasted as heat released into the environment. For example, about 66% of the energy produced when electricity is generated from a coal-burning power plant is wasted – making it one of the most inefficient energy resources available. Such waste can cost companies and consumers billions of dollars over time, without even taking into account the environmental and health costs for which coal-burning power plants are responsible. However, companies all over the world are discovering more and more that there are better and much more efficient ways to generate electricity by turning to renewable sources of energy. General Motors is one of the latest companies to incorporate renewable energy resources into its operating facilities.
According to Rob Threlkeld, GM’s global manager of renewable energy, there are already “107 landfill-free facilities across the globe that recycle or reuse their waste.” Now, in collaboration with Detroit Renewable Energy, and as part of its environmental commitment, GM has announced that its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant will be getting more than half (58% to be exact) of its energy needs from renewable energy. The plant builds the Chevrolet Impala, Malibu, Volt and Cadillac ELR.
According to a GM, when the project is complete, Detroit Renewable Energy will “process more than 1 million tons of municipal solid waste into electric power and steam while also recycling nearly 40,000 tons of metal annually.” The heat and steam generated will be used to heat and cool the plant, and supply 15.8 megawatts of renewable energy, “which equates to 12% of GM’s overall goal of putting 125 megawatts of renewable energy into its energy portfolio by 2020.” Construction of the new steam line is slated to begin later this month. When it becomes operational next spring, the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant will become the most energy-efficient GM facility in the world.