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August 21, 2012

Petition to DOE Demands Stringent Energy Standards for Commercial Motors



The Washington, D.C.-based National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), in alliance eight conservation advocacy groups, has 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, conveyors, and fans).

The signatories also have asked DOE to “lower the boom” on some motor types that have not previously been covered by U.S. standards, by eliminating their current exemptions. In addition to increasing national energy savings, the petitioners believe that curtailing exemptions will simplify enforcement and severely limit opportunities to evade regulations.

Delivered on August 15, the petition represents the culmination of two years of discussion among the members of the alliance. In addition to NEMA, they include the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), 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 Northwest Power and Conservation Council,

If standards are tightened and the number and type of motors subject to standards are augmented, according to DOE's own analysis, America would save about 4.4 quadrillion BTUs of energy by 2044—more energy than the entire State of Florida uses annually. The recommended standards also would save motor purchasers more than $18 billion per year.

NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis hailed this petition and the collaboration as a tremendous step taken by 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 ACEEE Associate Director for Research Neal Elliott, 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,” he commented, adding, “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."

If the DOE adopts new standards by year-end 2012, the petitioners have requested that they become effective on January 1, 2015.

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Edited by Rich Steeves

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