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

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

According to NEMA, 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 said its 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 efficiency and energy savings, the petitioners’ recommendations to curtail current exemptions would simplify enforcement and severely limit opportunities to evade regulations.

The petition asks for increased standards for some motors and significantly increases the scope of motors covered by efficiency standards. According to DOE’s own analysis, these new standards would save about 4.4 quadrillion Btu of energy by 2044 — more energy than the entire state of Florida uses in a year. The efficiency standards recommended would also save end users more than $18 billion over that span, said NEMA.

Evan R. Gaddis, NEMA president and CEO, hailed the 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.

Publication date: 9/3/2012