Understanding the Energy-Related Products Directive

It may be a European directive—but if you sell motors in Europe, or to OEMs who sell into Europe—you need to be aware of it and the impact it could have on sales of certain energy efficient motor types.

Kevin Schiller
Kevin Schiller

The Energy-Related Products directive notes that motors used in production processes accounted for about 70 percent of electricity consumed in industrial processes, estimating that an improvement in the efficiency of these motors could result in 20–30 percent in energy savings.

To achieve these goals, the Directive has set the following regulations and deadlines for motor sales within the EU.

  • Stage 1 (June 2011) – Motors between 0.75 kW and 375 kW to meet or exceed IE2 standards.
  • Stage 2 (January 2015) – Motors between 7.5 kW and 375 kW to meet or exceed IE3 standards or meet or exceed IE2 standards and be equipped with a variable speed drive (VSD).
  • Stage 3 (January 2017) – Motors between 0.75 kW and 7.5 kW to meet or exceed IE3 standards or meet or exceed IE2 standards and be equipped with a VSD.

Stage 1
Adoption of IE1 motors declined as a result of the first directive. However, the impact of the regulation has demonstrated a prolonged period of decline of IE1 motor sales. The IE1 motor market has exhibited accelerated contraction in EMEA, its sharpest contraction forecast for 2014. Although IE1 motor sales have diminished significantly, there is still a sizeable market for those that have skirted the directive, estimated to have accounted for approximately 30 percent of all EU motor sales in 2013.

Stage 2 & Stage 3
The next two stages of the directive include provisions for the addition of a VSD instead of upgrading to the next motor efficiency class.

From an equipment price perspective, each upgrade in motor efficiency corresponds with a 15-20 percent increase in the average selling price of a motor. By comparison, the purchase of a VSD represents an additional cost to the motor, ranging from 60-90 percent of the motor’s average sellign price as shown in accompanying figure.

When evaluating system efficiency between the two options, the efficiency of a continuous duty motor at full load is actually reduced by the addition of a VSD. However, for variable load applications, the addition of a drive increases energy savings compared with solely upgrading motor efficiency.

Therefore, the scenarios in which the purchase of a motor includes a drive are more dependent on its application. As the previous price comparison shows, the purchase of a VSD represents a substantially larger initial investment, which could only be recovered through the energy savings realized in variable load applications.

Motors and drives within the Stage 2 power range represent a small proportion of the overall market. In addition, these motors are inherently efficient, and the attachment rate of drives to motors is already high within this power range.

Stage 3 of the directive affects the majority of IE motors and drive unit shipments. The attachment rate of drives to motors is lower within this power range and 98 percent of the market for motors falls short of IE3 efficiency —presenting a significant market opportunity.

IHS predicts that the decline in IE2 motor-only purchases will span four to five years following the 2015 and 2017 deadlines, similar to the market trends following the Stage 1 deadline. In addition, IHS projects that the Energy-Related Products Directive will have only a slightly positive impact on the market for low-voltage drives, resulting in a 1-2 percent increase to the EMEA VSD market from 2017 to 2020.

Kevin Schiller is an analyst with IHS Inc.

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