General Mills, the world’s sixth-largest food company, began itsenvironmentally responsible business practices in 2009 when the companybegan harnessing wind power to run its facility in San Adrian, Spain.Wind power now accounts for one-third of the facility’s annual energyuse.
On Friday, General Mills announced the completion of the firstrenewable energy installation sited at one of its U.S.-based plants. The General Mills facility in Methuen, Massachusetts recently completed asolar installation that is expected to supply almost 80 percent of thefacility’s summertime electricity needs — and 40 percent of its needsthe rest of the year.
On average, the system will produce 55percent of the facility’s annual energy needs, producing as many as110,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually and avoiding 112,000 pounds ofcarbon dioxide emissions annually.
General Mills is onlybeginning to use new energy-efficient technologies at various locations. The company is currently working on a biomass burner for itsoat-milling facility in Fridley, Minnesota. By burning left over oathulls, the system may generate up to 90 percent of the energy needed toheat the plant and produce oat flour.