The European Commission has unanimously agreed to set minimum energy efficiency standards for industrial electric motors.

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

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.”