Mechanism Research & Policy Analysis on China Motor System Energy Efficiency Improvement

Jan 15, 2017

Electric motor systems consume more electricity than any other end use in China. According to the statistics, by 2013, the estimated installed capacity of the electric motor stock in China was about 2.1 TW, and their total electricity consumption was about 3,400 TWh/a, which accounted for 64% of China’s total electricity consumption. In the industrial sector, electric motors consumed 2,900 TWh electricity which accounted for around 75% of industrial electricity consumption. However, according to the statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the average energy efficiency of Chinese motor systems is 10% to 20% lower than the level of developed economies. Problems exists with backward motor manufacturing technology with low innovation, lack of speed control, inefficient transmission systems, no automatic and intelligent system control, inadequate standardization services and enforcement, weak market-driven mechanisms etc. To solve these problems, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China (MIIT) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China (AQSIQ) co-launched a national program named “Electric motor energy efficiency improvement plan (2013-2015)” in June 2013, aiming to deploy 170 GW of high efficient motors (i.e. IE3 and IE4) and to eliminate 160 GW of older inefficient motors, to improve motor systems by motor replacement of 100 GW, and to refurbish 20 GW in replaced motors.

Since electric motors work with their respective application (pump, fan, compressor, etc.) as a system, it is obvious that only replacing motors cannot improve system efficiency effectively. Barriers hindering the implementation of this national plan are identified such as lacking analysis of cost-effectiveness of motors system efficiency, enforcement measures are not strong enough to supervise and monitor the market, the design, innovation of relevant technologies as well as energy service business models cannot meet the fast market change etc. Hence “system optimization” becomes more and more critical both in engineering, management as well as policy design. To remove these barriers, with the funding of the Energy Foundation, Top10 China (Renergy Technology Consulting Beijing LLC), in cooperation with China Machinery Industry Energy and Resources Conservation Center (MERC), launched and implemented this project to support the goal of motor system efficiency improvement by 3% to 5% by 2020, which result in 78 to 130 TWh per year of electricity savings. This will be achieved by 2020 via providing recommendations for the policy effectiveness and implementation mechanism, developing guidelines and case studies on motor system efficiency, designing and conducting pilot training programs for the managers in factories by applying the guidelines and conducting technical know-how exchange between China and advanced regions.

In China, more than 60% of the electricity is generated by coal, so that the average emission factor of 1 kWh electricity in China is about 1 kilogram of CO2. The significant electricity savings will help China contribute to tackling climate change by peak its carbon emissions by 2030.


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