Focus on Energy: Energy savings at McCain Foods is no small potatoes


Mark Treichel

Hoffman York

(414) 225-9554

[email protected]

– Energy efficiency upgrades save $875,000 annually at Wisconsin plants –

MADISON, Wis. (March 12, 2009) – With potato-processing plants around the world, McCain Foods has a total production capacity to make more than one million pounds of french fries an hour. In fact, the company makes one-third of all frozen french fries in the world. Despite the high performance required by its plants, saving energy is no small potatoes for McCain Foods.

With the help of Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, McCain Foods’ plants in Appleton, Fort Atkinson, Plover and Rice Lake, Wis. have reduced energy consumption by 4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and 647,688 therms of natural gas annually – enough energy to power 1,070 homes for a year. The company will also save $875,000 on its energy bills each year.

“Focus on Energy was an invaluable asset to help us find energy saving solutions,” said Andrew Green, plant engineering manager at McCain Foods. “Their technical expertise and assistance have assured us that we’ll see a strong return on investment for our projects.”

Since 2008, McCain Foods has received $485,000 in cash incentives from Focus on Energy to boost its efforts toward becoming more energy efficient. Together, the company’s four Wisconsin plants have completed many energy saving projects, including plant-wide lighting upgrades, heating and cooling system improvements, updates to compressed-air systems, the installation of a variable-speed drive on a wastewater-treatment system and more.

But the biggest energy saver is an innovative heat recovery system installed at the Plover plant last month. The system captures “waste” heat from the plant’s three exhaust stacks and uses it to preheat water for the boiler system. Reusing this heat enables the plant to significantly reduce its natural gas use and saves $594,000 a year. Focus awarded a $300,000 incentive to help get the project off the ground.

“McCain Foods has stepped up to become a leader in energy management among Wisconsin businesses,” said Ken Williams, Focus on Energy’s business programs director. “By incorporating energy efficiency into its operation, McCain Foods will benefit along with the environment and the communities it serves.”

The annual environmental benefits from McCain Foods’ efforts are also no small potatoes. The energy savings is equal to offsetting the burning of 19,000 barrels of oil – eliminating 14 million pounds of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from being released into the atmosphere.

“Industrial manufacturing facilities have many opportunities to save money through energy efficiency,” Williams noted. “Focus can help identify and evaluate energy saving opportunities, report findings with specific recommendations, develop energy management plans, find vendors and arrange technical training opportunities about energy conservation – helping companies improve their bottom lines.”

For more information on Focus on Energy’s Business Programs, call (800) 762-7077 or visit .

About McCain Foods

McCain Foods, which employs more than 20,000 people, is a manufacturer of frozen food products such as french fries, appetizers, pizzas, vegetables, desserts, juices, entrees and oven meals. McCain is headquartered in Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada, and has grown to become a global leader in the frozen food industry, operating 55 facilities worldwide and generating annual sales of more than C$6 billion. In Wisconsin, the company operates plants in Appleton, Fort Atkinson, Rice Lake and Plover. For more information, visit .

About Focus on Energy

Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed, or to complete projects sooner than scheduled. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control the state’s growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information, call (800) 762-7077 or visit .