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Government body calls for mandatory motor efficiencies by 2010

01 July, 2006

Government body calls for mandatory motor efficiencies by 2010

The body responsible for guiding the UK Government`s policy on the efficiency of motor-driven systems, is calling for a radical overhaul of the present Eff labelling system and recommending that minimum levels of motor efficiency be made mandatory by 2010.

In a series of briefing notes just published, the Government`s Market Transformation Programme (MTP):

reports that the current Eff labelling scheme, which dates back to 1999, "is no longer representative of the best-in-class motors that have since become available";

says "it is imperative to update the labelling scheme";

calls for a better motor efficiency testing standard than the current one, which is "insufficiently accurate and needs revision or replacing";

recommends the introduction of mandatory Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPSs) as the most effective method for improving the efficiency of the UK`s motor stock;

estimates that, if a MEPS based on the existing Eff1 classification came into force by 2010, it would generate annual savings of 1.96TWh by 2020; and

suggests promoting other energy-efficient motor technologies.

To help achieve these changes, the Government is contributing £20,000 to a new international initiative aimed at accelerating the global harmonisation of motor testing procedures and performance standards.

The current energy efficiency labelling scheme was drawn up in the 1990s by the European Commission and CEMEP, the body that represents Europe`s motor-makers. At CEMEP`s insistence, the scheme was made voluntary with no requirement for buyers to specify high-efficiency motors.

The scheme has succeeded in cutting the numbers of poor-efficiency Eff3 motors from 68% of all four-pole machines sold in the EU in 1998, to just 9% by 2004. At the same time, sales of mid-efficiency Eff2 machines have soared from 29% to 86% of all motors sold.

But sales of high-efficiency Eff1 machines have not taken off as rapidly as hoped. Across the EU, sales rose from 2% in 1998 to just 5% by 2004. In the UK, the penetration of Eff1 machines has been slightly higher, accounting for an estimated 15% of motor sales this year. In part, this has been due to the availability of Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs) which give tax relief on energy-saving technologies.

But according to the MTP, sales of Eff1 motors appear to be stagnating at this level and are "not expected to increase much further with existing policies".

Several other countries have already implemented, or are planning, mandatory MEPS schemes, including:

the US, where 56% of motors sold now meet the Eff1-equivalent EPAct efficiency standards set in 1992, and a further 16% comply with the more demanding NEMA Premium specification introduced in 2001;

Australia, which has had an Eff2-equivalent MEPS since 2001 and has raised the bar this year to prohibit the import or sale of sub-Eff1 motors in the range 0.73-185kW; and

China, which has implemented an Eff2-equivalent minimum specification, and plans to raise this to the equivalent of Eff1 by 2010.

As well as raising efficiency levels, the MTP wants any new efficiency labelling scheme to embrace more motors than the original scheme, which was limited to two- and four-pole squirrel-cage induction motors in the range 1.1-90kW. The MTP position papers suggest the scheme should be expanded to cover ratings from 1.1-400kW, and to include six- and eight-pole motors.

The MTP describes the ECA scheme as "an effective way of increasing the uptake of high-efficiency motors" but adds that "its efficacy could be increased by broadening its remit to cover different types of motor".

The MTP points out that the position papers are "illustrative" and "do not imply commitment by Government". The papers can be downloaded from the Programme`s Web site. Comments on the documents can be submitted to the MTP.




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