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% 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) 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.