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Energy concerns drive European sales of MV drives

25 February, 2011

Energy efficiency regulations and soaring energy prices have increased awareness among end-users and OEMs about the benefits of medium-voltage (MV) drives. As a result, European sales of MV drives will expand from $176.9m last year to reach $287.2m by 2016, the market analyst Frost & Sullivan predicts in a new report.

F&S estimates that by 2009 MV drives had penetrated around 13% of the potential market in Europe, and predicts that the figure will reach 20% by 2012 – which still represents a large untapped potential.

“The urgent need to reduce energy costs and boost energy efficiency will spur the demand for MV drives in Europe over the period 2011 to 2016,” predicts F&S research analyst, Sahitya Yerramreddy. Payback periods for MV drive installations are generally around two years, according to F&S, and less in some installations.

But, it adds, reducing harmonics remains an important challenge for MV drive manufacturers. “Wastage of energy in the form of harmonics has always been a problem for end-users who are pressing MV drive manufacturers to provide solutions that reduce harmonics,” says Yerramreddy. “Further, as more applications start using drive controls, there is likely to be greater emphasis by utilities on the need to reduce the magnitude of harmonic currents and comply with harmonic standards.”

Drives manufacturers are responding to these demands with technologies such as multi-pulse converters and active front-ends.

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