EU targets motors for regulation
According to an article in Electronics Weekly, the European Union will soon regulate motors. The details are spelled out in 640/2009.
Here are the regulation dates for motors (0.75-375 kW) put on the market in the EU:
June 16, 2011: IE2 min. efficiency.
Jan. 1, 2015: for motors with rated output 7.5-375 kW - IE3 min. OR IE2+VSD.
Jan. 1, 2017: for motors with rated output 0.75-375 kW - IE3 min. OR IE2+VSD.
VSD = variable speed drive which greatly increases overall efficiency.
Motors consume 40 percent of the electricity in the EU according to European Commission figures so this is the most significant eco-design regulation to date. It is estimated that around 20 to 30 percent efficiency improvements can be made, and will save more than 3 times the energy of any of the other individual regulations adopted so far, roughly equivalent to the energy consumption of the whole of Sweden.
Conforming to these requirements may be quite demanding for EU industry. It is thought that the US is significantly ahead of the EU. In 2009 already 54 percent of the US market met IE2 and 15 percent was IE3. Apart from the efficiency of the motor itself a key issue is that very few motors in the EU are used with speed control electronics such as VSD. Germany is the only exception to this.