DECATUR, Ala. – Nov. 11, 2015 – Thanks to motor-speed regulating machines sourced from another
company’s facility, Alabama-Decatur Energy announced a recent energy efficiency upgrade at its plant that
supplies thermal utilities to customer United Launch Alliance (ULA). This upgrade will significantly drive
down ULA’s energy use at their Decatur rocket factory.
Alabama-Decatur Energy, which is a part of GDF SUEZ Energy North America, supplies utilities to space
launch services provider ULA via steam, chilled water and compressed air to heat and cool the complex,
regulate rocket manufacturing chemical processes and operate pneumatic tools. In collaboration with ULA,
Alabama-Decatur installed two ABB 1,500-horsepower variable frequency drives to regulate the speed of
the motors on two of the plant’s 1,425-ton chillers. Prior to installation of the variable frequency drives, the
chillers’ motors ran on full power 24 hours a day to power ULA’s 1.6 million-square-foot facility that
manufacturers Atlas V and Delta IV launch vehicles.
When Alabama-Decatur Energy Plant Manager Kevin Miller learned from a colleague that the equipment
was available for reuse from another plant in the fleet that had been decommissioned, he realized the
machines could reduce the operating costs at ULA.
“The collaboration between ULA and Alabama-Decatur Energy is a testament to ULA’s commitment to
innovation through increased focus on sustainability and energy efficiency. The team at Alabama-Decatur
Energy worked to decrease our energy consumption in our Decatur factory,” said Craig Langford, director
and general manager of program operations.
With an eye toward conserving energy and cost reduction, Alabama-Decatur Energy and ULA’s power and
facilities professionals teamed up to examine, craft and implement the upgrade.
“I knew this would help us be more competitive in helping ULA become more energy efficient as well as
drive ULA’s energy costs down,” Miller pointed out. “I see this project as part of our long-term customer
focus. We think of it as an industrial-scale example of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”
About Alabama-Decatur Energy and GDF SUEZ Energy North America
Operating in Decatur, Alabama, since 1999, Alabama-Decatur is a part of GDF SUEZ Energy North America, which
manages a range of energy businesses in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, including electricity generation and
cogeneration, natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) distribution and sales, and retail energy sales and related
services to commercial and industrial customers, and to residential customers via its Think Energy®
brand. GDF SUEZ Energy North America is a part of the international energy group ENGIE.
About United Launch Alliance (ULA)
With more than a century of combined heritage, United Launch Alliance is the nation’s most experienced and reliable
launch service provider. ULA has successfully delivered 100 satellites to orbit that provide critical capabilities for
troops in the field, aid meteorologists in tracking severe weather, enable personal device-based GPS navigation and
unlock the mysteries of our solar system. For more information on ULA, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com.
Danni Sabota, 713 636 1039