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NEMA Petitions for Energy-Efficiency Standards for Electric Motors


8/21/2012 10:25 AM

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), its members who manufacture electric motors, and several other groups filed a petition August 15 with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recommending both new and more robust energy efficiency standards for the types of electric motors used in commercial and industrial applications such as pumps, conveyors, and fans. It asks that the standards, if adopted by the end of this year, be effective January 1, 2015.

Petitioners include the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, and Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

The petition is the culmination of two years of discussions among the groups. DOE was mandated to review motor efficiency to make a determination on increased efficiency requirements by the end of this year.

NEMA motor manufacturers approached ACEEE to discuss a proactive approach that would save energy and eliminate exemptions for many motor types not previously covered by U.S. standards. In addition to increasing national energy savings, the petitioners’ recommendations to curtail current exemptions will simplify enforcement and severely limit opportunities to evade regulations.

The petition increases standards for some motors and significantly increases the scope of motors that will now be covered by efficiency standards. According to DOE’s own analysis, these new standards would save about 4.4 quadrillion Btus of energy by 2044—more energy than the entire state of Florida uses in a year. The standards recommended will also save motor purchasers more than $18 billion over that span.

NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis hailed this petition and the collaboration as a tremendous step between manufacturers and energy-efficiency advocates to advance policy and regulation in a responsible and meaningful way.

“We expect this recommendation will enhance competition by establishing a level playing field for all manufacturers and enhance domestic export opportunities as motor efficiency standards become globally harmonized,” Gaddis said.

According to Neal Elliott, Associate Director for Research, ACEEE, the consensus process through which this recommendation was developed reflects how the standards process can benefit all stakeholders.

“Motors use about half of all U.S. electricity, so motor efficiency really matters. Working together with the motor manufacturers, we’ve developed a proposal that will deliver major energy and economic savings for motor purchasers and protect the environment,” Elliott said.

NEMA is the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers, founded in 1926 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Its member companies manufacture a diverse set of products including power transmission and distribution equipment, lighting systems, factory automation and control systems, and medical diagnostic imaging systems. Worldwide annual sales of NEMA-scope products exceed $120 billion.​

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