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US motor-makers petition for tougher efficiency standards

22 August, 2012

A group of US organisations including the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), which represents US motor manufacturers, is asking the US government to implement “new and more robust” motor efficiency standards which, they say could save the nation $18bn by 2044.

The group, which also includes the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), has petitioned the US Department of Energy (DOE) to implement the new standards which would eliminate exemptions for many motor types not covered by existing US standards.

The petition is the culmination of two years of discussions among the organisations. The US DOE has been mandated to review motor efficiencies and to determine increased efficiency requirements by the end of this year. The group says that if the recommended standards were adopted before 2013, they could be in effect by the beginning of 2015.

The petition aims to raise efficiency standards for some types of motors and to increase significantly the scope of motors covered by US efficiency standards. According to DOE’s own analysis, the new standards would save about 1,300TWh of energy by 2044 — more energy than the state of Florida uses in a year. The standards would also save motor users more than $18bn over that span.

NEMA motor manufacturers originally approached ACEEE to discuss a proactive approach that would save energy and eliminate exemptions for many types of motor not previously covered by US standards. As well as increasing US national energy savings, the proposed standards will curtail current exemptions, simplify enforcement, and limit opportunities to evade regulations.

“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 harmonised,” says NEMA president and CEO, Evan Gaddis.

According to Neal Elliott, associate director for research at ACEEE, the consensus process through which the recommendations were developed reflects how the standards process can benefit all stakeholders. “Motors use about half of all US electricity,” he points out, “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.”

Other organisations involved in the petition include 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 the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.

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