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Due to the complexity of modern manufacturing systems and the lack of optimal management of energy consumption, the energy efficiency of manufacturing systems in real industrial environment is much lower than designed level, which significantly increases operation cost, impedes company competitiveness in the global market, leads to high carbon dioxide emission, and results in destroyed environment and ecology. Compared with existing research efforts on energy management of single machine system in the literature, few works have been performed to study the opportunity for energy management of typical manufacturing systems with multiple machines and buffers. From the point-of-view of sustainability, considering stochastic factor and buffer utilization, this paper investigates the opportunity estimation for real-time energy control of typical multi-machine manufacturing systems without sacrificing system throughput. A numerical case study based on an automotive assembly line is used to illustrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed method.