Motor systems are an integral part of our industrial and commercial facilities. They provide the motive force behind the fans, pumps, compressors, chillers, and conveyors in these facilities. Given their centrality to any facility’s operations, they are a critical energy end use to understand, particularly when developing technologies and policies to meet sustainability goals, improve productivity, and enhance resilience.
In the late 1990s, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducted two seminal studies to better understand the installed stock and energy savings opportunities of industrial and commercial motor systems. In the industrial sector, The United States Industrial Electric Motor Systems Market Opportunities Assessment used primary data collected through onsite assessments and led to a greater understanding of the installed base of motor systems, their characteristics, and the opportunities for energy savings (U.S. Department of Energy, 2002). Notable findings included the following:
• Industrial motor systems consumed 679 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) in 1994, representing 23 percent of U.S. electricity consumption.
• Cost-effective energy efficiency measures could result in 62-104 billion kWh of energy savings annually.
• Sixty-two percent of the energy savings potential was from fan, pump, and compressor end use equipment.
• Nearly half of motor system electricity consumption was attributable to approximately 3,500 facilities, or 1.5 percent of U.S. manufacturing facilities.
Opportunities for Energy Savings in the Residential and Commercial Sectors with High Efficiency Electric Motors provided an evaluation of the installed stock of motor driven equipment in U.S. commercial and residential buildings and opportunities for utilization of high efficiency motors and variable speed technologies (Arthur D. Little, 1999). Notable findings included the following:
• Commercial motor systems consumed 343 billion kWh in 1995, with refrigeration and space conditioning constituting 93 percent of the total.
• Cost-effective energy efficiency measures could result in 51 billion kWh of energy savings annually.
Due in no small part to these seminal studies, motor system technologies and usage characteristics have changed drastically since the late 1990s. Greater awareness of cost-effective strategies for reducing motor system electricity consumption have been developed and deployed. This includes several software tools, literature, and utility and government programs promoting energy efficiency improvements in motor driven systems. Additionally, several rounds of energy efficiency standards have been enacted, resulting in improved installed motor efficiency. The cost of variable speed drives has dropped substantially, and combined with utility rebate programs, has led to their greater adoption.
Further, since these results were published, the U.S. manufacturing sector has undergone a massive transformation. Due to global competition, some sectors have relocated operations overseas. Others have brought operations onshore to avail low cost and abundant natural gas. Additionally, automation and robotics have pervaded the entire sector.
Consequently, these two reports likely do not represent the current state of motor driven systems in U.S. industrial and commercial facilities. As cited in recent studies, the lack of current information on motor system electricity consumption and use characteristics limits the ability to conduct analysis on energy savings potential, develop technologies to address energy and productivity gaps, and develop programs to promote energy efficiency practices and technologies for motor systems (International Energy Agency, 2007; UNIDO, 2010; McKane and Hasanbeigi, 2011; Waide and Brunner, 2011). Specifically, the lack of information affects a range of stakeholders:
• Governments must rely on outdated information when setting research agendas, developing policies, and designing energy efficiency programs and offerings.
• Utilities and energy efficiency programs cannot identify the current market needs or potential impact when designing rebate and energy efficiency programs.
• Electric grid planners cannot identify motor system usage characteristics when developing plans to support the resilience of the electric grid.
• Manufacturers of motors, motor driven equipment, and drives are hampered when developing technologies to meet the needs of their market.
• Motor system end users are limited in their ability to identify energy saving opportunities within their own facilities because they do not have reliable benchmark information.
In response to the lack of current information and analysis on industrial and commercial motor systems, the DOE initiated an update to these two studies. Launched in 2016 and led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), the Motor System Market Assessment (MSMA) provides an updated, more comprehensive assessment of the installed stock of motor systems in both the industrial and commercial sectors, a review of the supply chains supporting motor and drives in the U.S., and the performance improvement opportunity available from using best available technologies and maintenance and operation practices. The outcomes of the MSMA are documented in three U.S. Industrial and Commercial Motor System Market Assessment reports, with this report being the first listed:
1. Volume 1: Characteristics of the Installed Base (this report) documents the findings on the installed base of motor systems in the U.S. industrial and commercial sectors. Quantification of energy savings potential is not documented in this report but in Volume 3.
2. Volume 2: Motors and Drives Supply Chain Review reviews the state of supply chains for motors and drives installed in U.S. industrial and commercial facilities, focusing on advanced motor and drive technologies and their constituent materials.
3. Volume 3: Energy Savings Opportunity analyzes the energy performance improvement opportunity for the installed base of U.S. industrial and commercial motor systems.
This report has been prepared as a reference for motor system stakeholders. It provides factual information as could be best determined by the assessment results and avoids speculating on any findings.