Revisiting Energy Savings with Drives Technology

Chances are you’re aware that using variable speed drives can dramatically lower motor energy use, saving your facility large sums of money every year. But to date, only about 10 percent of the world’s motors are connected to drives. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at the energy and money savings potential of drives again.

Despite energy costs having dropped significantly in the past year, and even though the debate over climate change still rages in Washington, D.C., and some state governments around the nation, one truth remains: Wasted energy equals wasted money.

Given this fact, it’s interesting that so few installed motors worldwide are making use of drives technology (only about 10 percent of the world’s motors are connected to drives) to conserve energy and save money that falls directly to the bottom line. Yes, there is the upfront cost encountered with the application of drives, but even the most conservative return on investment assessments show payback in far less than 2 years—most commonly within one year.

By regulating the speed of a motor to deliver the required force when needed, as needed, variable speed drives can reduce motor energy consumption by 30-50 percent and, in extreme cases, by as much as by 90 percent. This translates into significant energy savings when you consider that global industry consumes about 40 percent of the world’s energy and that motors, by themselves, consume nearly 30 percent of the world’s energy. Bottom line: Most of industry’s energy use is due to industry’s reliance on motors.

ABB recently released data to drive home the benefit of drives technology by looking at the energy its installed based of drives saved the world in 2014. According to the ABB report, the company’s installed motor drives saved 445 TWh (terawatt-hours) in 2014—which is equivalent to what 110 million households use in energy when each home consumes, on average, 4,000 kWh annually. (Note: This 4,000 kWh average home energy use is based on data calculated for 2005, the year for which the latest statistics are available, per the ABB report.) . Of course, ABB does happen to sell drives and motors, but the points they make remain relevant.

To help make the case for deploying drives with the motors in your facility, see and share the ABB video below. Whether you choose ABB drives technology or that of another supplier, making the choice to apply drives is a proven, long-term money-saving decision for your operation.

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