NEMA ei April 2015 - (Page 10)

Smarter Cities Lower Energy Consumption, Carbon Emissions through Motor Upgrades Scott Durfee, Director of product management, nidec motor corporation A cross the country, cities and their utilities are under regulatory pressure to lower carbon emissions and increase their use of renewable energy sources. Smart cities often meet these goals by taking advantage of federal subsidies and tax credits to build wind farms and install solar arrays. Many smarter cities, however, have found less costly, more practical ways to shrink their carbon footprint and lower energy consumption. They're also helping the people and businesses that live and work there join the process. Renewables: Only Part of the Solution Wind and solar energy receive considerable attention in the media, but for utilities, renewable energy sources still present major limitations. For one thing, they've made the electrical power grid more unstable. Case in point: peak usage is typically greatest at night-when the sun has gone down. Also, affordability depends heavily on government subsidies. Wind power currently accounts for just 1.6 percent U.S. energy output, according to the Institute for Energy Research. Its longterm goal is reaching five percent. To help reach this goal, the government subsidizes wind to the tune of $23 per megawatt hour-roughly 60 times the $0.44 per megawatt hour that goes to coal-fired power plants, the backbone of the U.S. electrical power industry, and 100 times more than the $0.25 per megawatt hour that goes to natural gas production. Coal and natural gas account for more than 70 percent of the U.S. power supply. Smarter Approach: Lowering Consumption A more practical approach to reducing the nation's carbon footprint is to reduce energy consumption on a local level. In the U.S., commercial and residential sectors account for 72 percent of electricity use and more than 36 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. The economic and environmental benefits of lower consumption, therefore, can be substantial. According to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), among the most cost-effective and fastest solutions is to lower building energy demand. Smart cities and their utilities accomplish this by creating comprehensive policies and support programs, such 10 NEMA electroindustry * April 2015 as Energy Efficiency Districts, which provide low-interest loans for energy conservation projects in their communities. These programs offer long-term monetary savings for consumers and decreased energy consumption for municipalities. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports that electric motors consume more than 50 percent of all electricity in the U.S. About $85 of every $100 in an industrial plant's electric bill can be traced to an electric motor, and yet, studies show that up to 40 percent of the energy in the nation's 5 million commercial buildings is wasted. The most efficient way to slash this waste and lower costs is by installing higher efficiency motors in heating and cooling systems, and replacing the motors that drive many manufacturing processes with more appropriately sized, variable-speed models. This is already happening; however, despite $35 billion spent on commercial building automation in 2013 alone, 94 percent of commercial buildings still don't have the "smart" automation technologies to tailor energy usage. Motor upgrades, clearly, remain the low-hanging fruit in achieving energy efficiency. Far more than alternative forms of energy, these upgrades represent a significant, relatively low cost and largely untapped approach to reducing coal and oil use in the U.S. Since 1978, California has led the U.S. in implementing energyefficient strategies for new construction, and the state's efforts have paid dividends. According to the California Public Utilities Commission, "California's building and appliance standards have saved the state's consumers more than $56 billion in natural gas and electricity costs since 1978 and averted building 15 large power plants."1 Encouraging Retrofits Smart cities don't limit their efforts to new construction. At the time energy efficiency laws were passed in California, for example, the state already had more than seven million existing homes. Most building infrastructure in use today will remain so through 2020, according the California Institute for Energy and Environment. 1 California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, January 2011 ( )

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NEMA ei April 2015