WE use them everyday, probably without realising it, they are everywhere and according to the IEA they account for about 45 percent of the world’s power consumption – electric motors.
The IEA (International Energy Authority) has carried out new analysis that highlights that electric motors are by and far the greatest energy consumers, offering tremendous energy saving opportunities. Running in second place of the power consumption league, according to the analysis, is lighting, making up 19 percent of global power consumption.
Regarding the the IEA analysis journalist Joe Hogan explains it in simplified form, that every second power plant is generating electricity just to run electric motors. In detail, the power demanded by motors every 60 seconds, is enough power to supply 13,000 households in India (think about it – that is every minute!) – which is 13,318,113 kWh.
Hogan, again, puts it another way, if you took all the electricity produced in every corner of the world from New Year’s Day until June 16, you would just have enough to power the world’s electric motors for 12 months. The study is the first global analysis of energy consumption in electric motors and the other stunning fact it reveals is how much of the energy they use could be saved.
Many motors are inefficient, oversized or running when they don’t need to. It says it is feasible as well as cost-effective to save about 20-30% of total motor power consumption, which is 9-14% of all global electricity consumption. Doubters may think that reaping such large benefits from motor system efficiency is simply too good to be true. The reason such a large unfulfilled potential exists, the International Energy Agency says, is that a variety of barriers make the benefits difficult to capture.
These barriers also show up clearly in a global survey of manufacturing executives conducted this year by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of ABB. It found that 60% of manufacturers had not invested in improving the energy efficiency of their capital, plant and equipment over the past three years. The executives cited a lack of a clear-cut financial case for energy efficiency investments, a lack of funds and a lack of information about energy efficiency options as the three main barriers to greater investment in energy efficiency in their companies.
This is a surprise, given that motors account for two thirds of the electricity used in industry, and that the annual energy cost of running a motor in industry can be as much as seven times its purchase price. The International Energy Agency report will go some way toward raising awareness. It fills an important gap in the energy and climate debate by putting some hard facts on the table about a topic on which independent measurement and analysis have been lacking.