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ABB says its VSDs saved $34bn in 2011

12 June, 2012

According to ABB, its installed base of variable speed drives (VSDs) saved about 310MWh of electric power last year – an increase of 19% on the figure for 2010. The savings are equivalent to the electricity generated by more than 30 nuclear power station blocks, or to the power consumed every year by 75 million typical European households.

Alternatively, the savings are equivalent to about 260 million tonnes of CO2 emissions (if the power had all been generated by fossil fuels) or to savings on users’ electricity bills worth approximately $34bn (at 2011 electricity prices in the US).

“The future potential for energy and cost savings is enormous since only about 10% of industrial motors are currently
combined with electric drives,” says Ulrich Spiesshofer, a member of ABB’s executive committee and head of its Discrete Automation and Motion division. “Using energy more efficiently will remain, for a significant time, the biggest opportunity available to cut energy consumption as well as costs and emissions.”

ABB’s savings estimates are based on a comparison of the average electricity consumption in applications with and without drives.

Industrial electric motors account for about 25% of all the electricity consumed worldwide. Energy accounts for 92–95% of the lifecycle cost of a motor, depending on its size, so an investment in VSDs typically pays for itself in less than two years.

♦  The Finnish drives-maker Vacon has also been doing its sums and reckons that its AC drives helped to save about 44TWh of energy last year equivalent to the energy produced by about eight 700MW nuclear reactors in a year. A further 18TWh was produced by renewable energy sources that use Vacon AC drives for power conversion.

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