Energy Legislation UNITED STATES

DOE Amends Motor Efficiency Standards

In May 2014, the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued amended energy conservation standards for certain commercial and industrial electric motors under subpart B of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 431. The amendment mandates the regulation of several groups of electric motors that DOE had not previously regulated under Part 431. Already-regulated motors categorized as Type One in EISA continue to meet the same standards to which they are held, but several new classes of motors including Type Two from EISA are held to more stringent regulation. Motors covered by the rule include open and enclosed design, 600 volts and below, 1–500 horsepower; 2, 4, 6 and 8 poles; and NEMA Designs A and B. For NEMA Design C, the tabulated efficiencies are the same, but for 1–200 horsepower, 4–6–8 poles only. Compliance with the standards is required for motors produced or imported as of June 1, 2016.

The efficiencies required are those associated with “NEMA MG1 Standard, Table 12–12,” and ratings in some of these categories have been on the market for a significant amount of time. Because motors built to NEMA standards are produced all over the world, it is likely that there will be variation in the ways in which different manufacturers design and produce motors to meet the amended DOE motor standards.

The electric motors energy conservation standards rulemaking docket EERE-2010-BT-STD- 0027 contains all notices, public comments, public meeting transcripts, and supporting documents. Over the 30-year period following the compliance date, these new standards are projected to save the equivalent of 1 percent of total US electricity consumption, based on 2013 use.

The following tables, which come from the DOE Federal Register, 10 CFR Part 431, detail the new standards.

NEMA Table 12












NEMA Table 13










2007 Energy Independence and Security Act

 On December 19, 2007, President Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140). Section 313 included new electric efficiency standards for motors. The law affected electric motor efficiency in three basic areas:

  1. It raised the minimum efficiency level for 1–200 hp motors that were covered by EPAct 1992 to NEMA Premium® levels (NEMA MG Table 12–12), except for fire pump motors, which remained at EPAct levels.
  2. It sets new federal minimum standards for motors that were not covered by standards previously. The following motors in the 1-200 hp range must meet NEMA Energy Efficient levels (i.e. EPAct 1992, NEMA MG Table 12-11), including:
    • U-Frame motors
    • Design C motors
    • Close-coupled pump motors
    • Footless motors
    • Vertical solid shaft normal thrust motors tested in a horizontal configuration
    • An 8-pole motor (900 rpm)
    • Polyphase motors of not more than 600 volts other than 230 or 460 volts
  3. It created a new federal minimum standards for NEMA design B motors, 201 to 500 hp at NEMA Energy Efficient levels (NEMA MG Table 12–11).

All of the motor types above that were manufactured or imported into the United States—alone or as a component of another piece of equipment—had to meet the efficiency standards stated above 36 months after the law's enactment.

Additional information is also available from several sources:

National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
US Department of Energy Annual Standards Implementation Report
US Department of Energy Electric Motors Conservation Standards

The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005

EPAct 2005 Section 104 required federal procurement of ENERGY STAR® products, FEMP-designated products, and NEMA Premium® electric motors. In other words, EPAct 2005 mandated the use of NEMA Premium efficiency electric motors as the motors of choice for federal procurement. The NEMA standard increased minimum requirements for energy efficiency and covered many more motor types and sizes up to 500 horsepower than electric motors regulated by the 1992 Energy Policy Act. A summary of the provisions of this act can be found in DOE's EPAct 2005 Summary Table. Details on NEMA Premium can be found on the NEMA website.

The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 1992

The Energy Policy Act was a governmental act passed by Congress in 1992, effective 1997. Its purpose was to reduce US dependence on imported petroleum and improve air quality by addressing all aspects of energy supply and demand, including renewable energy, alternative fuels, and energy efficiency. EPAct required 1–200 horsepower general-purpose motors manufactured or imported for sale in the United States to meet federal minimum efficiency levels. These efficiency levels were equivalent to NEMA MG-1 Table 12–11. NEMA Table 12–11 includes efficiency values for 1–50 hp 3600, 1800, 1200, and 900 rpm motors. Whereas the Energy Policy Act established minimum efficiency values for 1–200 hp 3600, 1800 and 1200 rpm motors, minimum efficiency values for 201–500 hp motors were not established until the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).

Energy Legislation CANADA

On October 12, 2011, amendment 11 to the Energy Efficiency Regulations was published, increasing the stringency or scope for Canada's current minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for electric motors. The new regulations took effect April 12, 2012.

Visit Natural Resources Canada for more information.