Updated Minimum Electric Motor Efficiency Standards

electric motor efficiency
Bryan Kilgore for Zondits, October 22, 2014

Recent increase in full-load motor efficiency standards are expected to save 1% of total U.S industrial sector electricity consumption in 2013 annually. This is based on estimated motors purchased as they fail over a 30 year period beginning the year the new standard takes effect. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) electric motors consume almost half of the electricity used in the manufacturing sector. There is significant potential for energy use savings and demand reduction by increasing motor efficiency or the processes driven by motors. Updating the motor efficiency standards is the first step with simple and passive energy savings achievable. The rest of the potential savings from motors will come from end use system improvements, such as reducing system load, controlling motor speed, appropriately sizing motor to load, and more.

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Minimum Efficiency Standards for Electric Motors will Soon Increase

The Energy Collective, October 3, 2014

Nearly half of the electricity consumed in the manufacturing sector is used for powering motors, such as for fans, pumps, conveyors, and compressors. About two thirds of this machine-drive consumption occurs in the bulk chemicals, food, petroleum and coal products, primary metals, and paper industries. For more than three decades the efficiency of new motors has been regulated by federal law. Beginning in mid-2016, an updated standard established this year by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for electric motors will once again increase the minimum efficiency of new motors.

The updated electric motor standards apply the standards currently in place to a wider scope of electric motors, generating significant estimated energy savings. DOE’s analyses estimate lifetime savings for electric motors purchased over the 30-year period that begins in the year of compliance with new and amended standards (2016-45) to be 7.0 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu). The annualized energy savings—0.23 quadrillion Btu—is equivalent to 1% of total U.S. industrial primary electricity consumption in 2013.

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