Michigan automaker achieves over $1M in energy savings by optimizing down time
Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is driving a cleaner future through a new energy efficiency approach that reduces its idle load at manufacturing plants. Idle load or “baseload” consumption includes equipment that is ‘on’ but inactive. Much of this always-on energy provides little or no benefit because the equipment is not actively being used. As an organization, Stellantis places a strong emphasis on energy management within their Carbon Net Zero Strategy – which is targeting to achieve Carbon Net Zero by 2038.
When Michigan utility DTE Energy launched its Strategic Energy Management (SEM) Program for large industrial companies, Stellantis was quick to enroll five of its plants. Within a few months of initiating the 24-month SEM program, the extended pandemic shutdown caused them to shift their plants to an idle mode. Collaborating with DTE and its SEM program administrators, Leidos and Energy Performance Services (EPS), Stellantis North America quickly focused their efforts on how the plants function during shutdown periods and how to maximize operational efficiency. With Stellantis’ commitment and buy-in across the company and Leidos and EPS extensive knowledge of manufacturing systems and energy management, they were able to develop a strategic shutdown procedure that drove down energy consumption during non-production hours. Within two years, the strategy was rolled out to nine total plants in eastern Michigan and collectively achieved over 22 million kWh in electricity savings– equivalent to over $1 million in energy cost savings.
With a focus on operational energy savings and continuous improvement, Stellantis and the DTE SEM program team came up with a standardized process for identifying, tracking, and auditing plant shutdown performance. Working together, the team was able to quickly identify previous best performance in terms of electrical and natural gas consumption. Using that target as a guideline, their facility managers worked with production departments to drive their non-production idle load down even further and leveraged automated system controls to assist with shutdown performance.
The DTE SEM program helped to drive the effectiveness of the initiative by:
- Establishing an energy focus group at each plant to coordinate with staff on the plant floor and increase knowledge of equipment energy use
- Setting a series of demand targets based on the duration of non-production periods (i.e., 4-12 hours, 12-24 hours, and >24 hours)
- Integrating energy-saving actions into Standard Operating Procedures and training material
- Implementing an auditing process to ensure persistence of energy-saving actions and automatic systems, and to identify potential missed opportunities
- Promoting continuous improvement by analyzing data-driven feedback reports provided by the SEM team to track performance against the reduction targets and previous achievements
- Creating an environment for groups within each facility to share lessons learned, ongoing challenges, strategies, and successes
Data driven energy management
Energy management information can be used to generate actionable reports, and to provide feedback to plant personnel on the energy performance of systems under their control. This feedback is used to keep managers accountable, and to trigger an investigation if energy performance drifts from expected levels. These reports can also double as a means for further opportunity identification, and measurement and verification of energy savings.
The main sources of information used by Stellantis and the DTE SEM team to support development of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and reports used for tracking energy performance include:
Stellantis’ energy shutdown initiative has equipped the plants to better understand their energy usage and manage their energy resources to reduce consumption, eliminate waste, and generate cost savings. In addition to achieving replicable savings, this initiative also supports the company’s aggressive corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets. Stellantis’ achievements have been recognized by several regional and national organizations, including the Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). By participating in the DTE SEM program, the company has saved over $5 million through project incentives and avoided utility costs.
Using over 35 years of energy management experience, Leidos designs and delivers cost-effective utility energy efficiency programs that generate persistent energy savings and exceptional customer satisfaction. Our team of experts work with commercial and industrial customers to benchmark energy use, implement energy-saving project opportunities, and integrate a continual improvement approach through Strategic Energy Management.