NEMA starts motor-efficiency program

ROSSLYN, Va. — The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has initiated a national Premium Efficient Electric Motor program, known and marketed as “NEMA Premium.”

According to NEMA, more than 1.2 million integral electric motors are sold each year for various applications. Using Department of Energy data, it is estimated that the NEMA Premium efficiency motor program could save more than 5,800 gigawatts of electricity and prevent the release of nearly 80 million metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere over the next 10 years.

Earlier this year, the U.S. electric motor industry reached consensus on a specification defining premium efficient motors and have agreed to include the definition in NEMA industry electric motor performance and application standards. This action was based, in part, on power supply and utility deregulation issues that have brought attention to the need to assist industrial motor users and utilities to optimize motor systems efficiency. NEMA states that many users and motor repair shops have been confused over the lack of consistency in terms describing integral motor “premium efficiency” performance by third parties and manufacturers. By directly relating motor efficiency to systems application needs NEMA Premium efficiency motor program manufacturers expect reduce market and user confusion.

Demand for NEMA Premium efficiency motors will exceed demand for the current “energy efficient” product required by the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

The Energy Policy Act imposed minimum energy efficient standards on certain

1hp to 200hp general-purpose integral horsepower motors based on NEMA standards.

The NEMA Premium efficiency motor program covers many more motor types and sizes than those covered under the 1992 federally-regulated motor program, including 1hp to 200hp definite and special purpose motors, motors up to 500hp and medium voltage motors.

The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) has endorsed NEMA Premium by aligning its specifications for premium-efficiency motors with NEMA's.

Initial charter motor manufacturers participating in the NEMA Premium efficiency motor program include Emerson Motors, Toshiba International, Rockwell Automation, GE Motors, Regal Beloit Corp., Siemens Energy and Automation, WEG Electric, SEW-Eurodrive, Sterling Electric and A.O. Smith Electrical Products Co.


Power-Pact was funded by the CEC as a part of California Assembly Bill 970's “Demand Responsive HVAC and Lighting Building Systems” program element, a part of AB 970's Peak Load Reduction Program.

“We are installing ‘demand responsive’ computer software and hardware systems in buildings, enabling facility managers to reduce the power requirements of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting systems in response to signals from the ISO to avoid rolling blackouts,” said Joe Desmond, president of Infotility and a veteran of the energy efficiency industry.

“Typical strategies used by building operators can be as simple as raising thermostat settings from 2 to 4 deg in commercial buildings, dimming or turning off some portion of lighting systems in buildings or literally any controllable load — often actions that have minimal or no impact on building occupant productivity, safety and comfort,” Desmond said.

He noted that any employee can benefit by advance warnings containing peak demand information from the power grid using alert notifications when blackouts are likely to occur. Desmond pointed out that the program provides an alternative to rolling blackouts, provides a way to stem the outward flow of wealth from California, and returns stability to the electric grid.

“By reducing demand during times of shortage, we can lower the cost of energy for all power customers in California,” Smith said. “A 10% reduction in peak demand could lead to a 50% reduction in the wholesale price of electricity. Load management is the only near-term solution that can help us weather the perfect storm that struck California's electricity industry.”

Global Energy Partners, the prime contractor, is providing marketing, engineering analysis, field verification and project management skills in the package, while EPRI is providing technical knowledge transfer from the laboratory into the field, along with customer training.

Current Power-Pact members already represent more than 10,000 buildings throughout California. For more information, contact Infotility at (510) 657-7959 or on the Internet at