General Motors’ Orion Assembly is one of the top ten green power generators in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Located in Orion Township, Michigan, the plant produces the Chevy Bolt EV. The EPA’s Green Power Partnership documents that over half of the plant is powered by methane captured from decomposing trash in a nearby landfill.
“Building the Bolt EV in a facility that is 54 percent powered by clean energy further adds to the car’s environmental credentials,” said Alicia Boler-Davis, GM Vice President of Global Manufacturing.
Orion Assembly utilizes a 350-kilowatt solar array, sending energy back to the grid. GM’s original goal was to promote the use of 125 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020, but will exceed that goal already this year.
Orion Assembly saves $1 million a year by using renewable energy.
“It’s an example of how we live our global sustainable manufacturing commitment while improving our bottom line,” Boler-Davis said.
GM is one of 60 multinational companies in the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance. The group advocates and develops cost effective clean energy solutions to meet rising demand. Furthermore, GM is one of founding members of the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles. Letha Tawney, Director of Utility Innovation at the World Resources Institute, notes GM’s environmental commitment.
“The GM team is constantly seeking out innovative approaches to increasing their use of renewable energy around the country,” she said.
James Critchfield, Manager of the Green Power Partnership, echoed similar sentiments.
“EPA applauds Orion Assembly for its innovation in generating green power from an onsite landfill gas energy system and for taking a leadership position on the environment,” he said.
Other sustainable methods at Orion Assembly are found in the paint shop. A “three-wet” process allows three layers of paint to be applied with only a single trip through in the oven. This saves vital energy previously used by extra equipment. Through modifications like this, Orion Assembly reduced energy intensity by 67 percent in two years.
The changes avoided 42,758 tons of CO2 emissions.
Another GM facility appears on the EPA’s Green Power Partnership list. Fort Wayne Assembly in Indiana, home of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, is included for the second year in a row.
*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.