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Published on June 16th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


Electric Motors Use 45% of Global Electricity, Europe Responding {+ Electric Motor Efficiency Infographic}

June 16th, 2011 by  

Interesting fact: today marks the passage of 45% of the year (yeah, time flies). 2nd interesting fact: electric motors account for ~45% of total global electricity consumption (yeah, that means electric motors are a beast of an energy user).

Are We Setting the Right Priorities to Address our Energy Challenges?

Electric motors are the single biggest consumer of electricity. They account for about two thirds of industrial power consumption and, as stated above, about 45% of global power consumption, according to a new analysis by the International Energy Agency (linked above).

Lighting is a distant second, consuming about 19%.

This means that almost every second power plant is producing electricity for the sole purpose of running motors.

However, as you have probably noticed, electric motors rarely form part of the intensive debate on our energy future (including here on CleanTechnica). Thousands of words and column inches are devoted to topics such as nuclear power, renewable energy, and electric vehicles, but rarely (if at all) do we discuss the fact that the majority of electric motors are inefficient, oversized, or running when they don’t need to be running.

As I’ve pointed out a number of times here on CleanTechnica, and have been wanting to focus on more, energy efficiency measures are critical to addressing the environmental and economic problems we face. Addressing the efficiency of electric motors, while not attractive to most of us, is an important topic someone (or many someones) needs/need to tackle.

Making Electric Motors More Efficient

Notably, ABB points out that using only existing technology, we can accomplish HUGE energy efficiency savings in this arena (check out their awesome new infographic on this below, which they’ve been kind enough to give us and sustainablog the lead on — click to enlarge it).

Today, the European Union is introducing new legislation which marks an important step in realizing some of these benefits, and which further highlights the potential to drastically reshape the world’s energy consumption profile. The infographic below (click to enlarge) illuminates what that legislation could mean in a pretty clear and fun way. Enjoy!

(Note, of course, that energy savings also result in tremendous financial savings and that energy efficiency upgrades in this case, as in so many, result in super fast returns on investment.)

Electric Motors Efficiency Infographic 


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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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