EU Extends Motor Efficiency Regulations to Include VSDs


EU plans tougher motor efficiency regs – and to add VSDs

Drives and Controls, November 3, 2015. Image credit: Winsker

The Commission is proposing to raise minimum efficiency levels on some types of motor, introduce regulations for smaller motors and for VSDs (variable-speed drives), remove the option to use VSDs with lower-efficiency motors, and extend the regulations to include specialised motors such as explosion-proof and brake types.

The new measures are needed to help meet the EC’s 2030 target of cutting greenhouse gas emission levels by 40% compared to 1990 levels, as well as cutting energy consumption by 27% by that date.

The biggest savings – 9.9TWh/year, or 44% of the total being targeted – will come from introducing a minimum efficiency rating of IE2 for small three-phase motors with ratings from 120–750W. To avoid loopholes, the EC wants to include all motors, even those integrated into products. A similar measure for single-phase motors in the same power range will save a further 4.6TWh/year.

The Commission is proposing to make IE3 the minimum efficiency for large low-voltage motors from 375–1,000kW, as well as for medium-voltage motors with same ratings. Although these large motors are sold in relatively small numbers, their high power ratings and typically long operating hours mean that they can make significant contribution to energy savings. The EC estimates that the annual savings from these measures would amount to 3.1TWh for the LV motors and 1.1TWh for the MV machines.

For the first time, the European Commission is proposing to bring variable-speed drives within the scope of its mandatory energy-saving regulations by demanding that they comply with the IE1 specifications defined in prEN 50598-2. (This is different from the IE ratings for motors.) By removing the worst-performing VSDs from the market from the start of 2018, the EC expects to save at least 1TWh/year by 2030.

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