The Authority is preparing to introduce a minimum energy performance standard for electrical motors in a bid to reduce power consumption. The Authority’s Energy Efficiency Conservation Department is conducting a study to identify the minimum standard for electric motor efficiencies manufacturers must meet before they can be put to use in the country.
At a cost of 20 million Br, the study was initiated in July and is expected to be produced in three phases, taking up to three years to finalise. In the first phase of the project, which is expected to take about a year, a minimum standard for energy use will be identified. The next two phases will encompass discussing the result of the study with stakeholders, conducting awareness creation programs and taking steps to reduce the import of substandard motors.
Around 60pc of electric motors operating in Ethiopia are inefficient and waste energy
Poor design, low quality in manufacturing, lack of preventive maintenance and the use of repaired (rewound) motors are identified as the causes of inefficiency in electric motors. An assessment for the study has shown that around 60pc of motors currently in use in factories consume higher power than necessary.
“Efficient motors deliver the expected output without loss,” said Zewge Worku, acting director of the Department. “Otherwise, they consume extra energy merely to burn it away.”
Electric motors account for 53pc of the electricity globally consumed, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA has developed internationally applied standards, International Energy (IE), comprising four levels of motor efficiency.
They are classified as standard, high, premium and super premium efficiency standards, ranked from “IE1” to “IE4”. “The final objective of the study is to set and adopt standards that are contextually appropriate to the nation,” says Zewge.
The United States was the first country to set energy performance to premium levels as a minimum requirement. Ethiopia has no such requirement. Dereje Walelign, managing director of LYDETCO, a supplier of solar power and industrial machinery and equipment founded in 1996, appreciates the move but believes that private players should have been part of the process from the start. There is also the worry of capacity by local manufacturers. “The study has to consider how enforcing a higher standard could be costly to manufacturers,” Dereje said.
Tigabu Atalo, a power and energy consultant with over a decade experience in the power industry, believes enforcing the energy efficiency standards outright will be challenging and potentially damaging to local manufacturers but an unavoidable one. “Implementation of the standards should be a gradual, step-by-step process,” he said.
The Authority, established in 2014, promotes and implements energy efficiency and conservation programs. It is responsible for conducting operational inspections and detailed equipment testing to confirm the efficiency of the electric motors.
“Energy efficiency conservation should also include electrical motors used by household appliances, such as stoves, that are the main sources of waste,” said Abay Admas, director of Energy Management at the Ethiopian Electric Utility.