Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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EU votes in energy efficiency for electric motors

EU votes in energy efficiency for electric motors

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (55/09) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 13 March 2009

Minimum energy efficiency standards for industrial electric motors have been unanimously agreed by the European Commission.

Electric motors are used widely in industry for processes such as pumping, ventilation, and in lifts and conveyor belts. They currently contribute significantly to non-domestic electricity consumption in the UK and account for around 70 per cent of the electricity used in industry.

New regulations will set minimum energy standards in motors and are expected to provide net benefits to UK industry and businesses of around £200 million and to save at least one million tonnes of CO2 each year. Efficiency levels will be phased in from 2011-2017.

Lord Hunt, Minister for Sustainability said:

"I'm delighted that the EU has joined together to save businesses money and help save significant amounts of energy by introducing these minimum standards. Given the importance of tackling Climate Change, in the UK we were keen to go further, faster and it is disappointing that other countries did not agree with us on this. The European motor market is lagging behind the rest of the world, but all improvements have to be seen as a significant step forwards."

The UK will continue to develop other national policies that promote the take-up of energy efficient motors such as the Enhanced Capital Allowance, building regulations (which encourage take up of variable speed drives, VSD) and the Buy Sustainable - Quick Wins standards which set minimum, mandatory specifications for procurers in Central Government Departments and their Executive Agencies for a range of commonly purchased products, including energy using products such as motors..

Notes to editors:

1. Efficiency levels agreed in the measure are:
* By 2011 - IE2
* By 2015 - IE3 for larger motors or IE2 if the motor is equipped with a variable speed drive (VSD)
* By 2017 - IE3 for smaller motors, or IE2 if the motor is equipped with a VSD

2. The benchmark is IE3 or IE3 equipped with a VSD

3. IE4 motors are not within the scope of the measure

4. The standards are IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards and are derived from older European motor industry labels, to harmonise with American and other regional motor efficiency classes.

5. This is the latest in a series of implementing measures under the Eco-design for Energy Using Products Framework Directive to help deliver EU objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce the adverse environmental impacts of products, to ensure free-trade in energy-using products and increase security of energy supply. These measures will encourage the improvement of products or the removal of the worst performers from the market and require suppliers to take account of environmental aspects in the design and development stage of a product.

Since agreement was reached on the Framework Directive in 2005 the Commission has been undertaking work on over 20 priority products including consumer electronics, white goods, heating appliances, motors and IT equipment.

6. Enhanced Capital Allowance is a scheme where businesses can write off the whole of the capital cost of their investment in qualifying technologies against their taxable profits. More information can be found at

7. "Buy Sustainable - Quick Wins" set minimum standards as mandatory for procurers in UK Central Government Departments and their Executive Agencies, helping them to raise the sustainability of their procurement activities and produce savings for the environment. More information can be found at

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