NEMA Announces Energy Efficient Motor Program

The National Equipment Manufacturers Association (NEMA) announced last month a new Premium Motor program that will set a voluntary efficiency standard for the electric motor industry which could save 58,000 megawatts of electricity.

NEMA’s Motor and Generator Section announced in early October that it will establish a Premium Motor energy efficiency program. Traditionally, there has been no industry consensus specification defining high efficiency or premium efficiency motors. Recent power supply issues and utility deregulation have brought attention to the need to help motor users optimize motor systems efficiency. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 imposed energy efficiency standards on many classes of motors. Since then, many users and motor repair shops have become confused over the lack of consistency in terms describing integral motor premium efficiency performance. By agreeing on a North American Premium Motor program, NEMA motor manufacturers expect this confusion to be greatly reduced. They anticipate demand for NEMA premium efficient motors will one day exceed demand for the current energy efficient product required by the Energy Policy Act. Integral horsepower motors became an efficiency-regulated product under the act; minimum efficiency levels known as energy efficient were established for 1 horsepower to 200 horsepower, general purpose motors. The Premium Motor program will go beyond the EPAct program to include motors up to 450 horsepower. Praising the proposed program, NEMA President Malcolm O’Hagan said, “A NEMA Premium Motor should be a welcome addition to the marketplace, setting a clear, voluntary energy efficiency specification for the industry, one that will be good for consumers, manufacturers, and the environment.” Experts believe NEMA Premium Motors will be specified by utility motor programs as replacements for older, failed motors because of an accompanying reduction in electrical energy consumption and improved reliability. “The members of the NEMA Motor and Generator Section are convinced,” said Robert Boteler, chairman of the NEMA Energy Management Taskforce, “that the recent Department of Energy Motor Decisions coalition, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Electrical Apparatus Service Association, NEMA, the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) and utility interests, when coupled with the NEMA Premium Motor program, will provide energy savings opportunities previously unrealized by American industrial and commercial firms.” The Motor Decisions coalition was formed in June of this year in an effort to bring together utilities, motor manufacturers, and service shops, along with DOE and EPA, to map out an action plan to reduce motor energy consumption in commercial and industrial applications. NEMA members are determined to provide the most innovative and efficient motor products possible, according to Boteler. “In fact, we have elected to broaden the new NEMA Premium program to include motors outside the range now regulated by the federal government.” Using Department of Energy industrial motor research data, Boteler estimates that the NEMA Premium Motor program, including commercial and agricultural applications, would save 58 gigawatts of electricity and prevent the release of nearly 80 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere over the next ten years. “It would be the equivalent of keeping 16 million cars off the road in the next decade,” he says. Member companies in the NEMA Motor and Generator Section include Emerson Electric, General Electric Company, Marathon/Lincoln, Siemens Energy and Automation, Toshiba International, Rockwell Automation, Sterling Electric, WEG Electric, Leeson Electric, Brook Crompton NA, ElectraGear, Ametek, Howell, Imperial Electric, Peerless Winsmith, SEW-Eurodrive, and Onan Corporation.