John Guthrie, Energy Efficiency Manager, ABB writes: It’s that time of the year where we, at ABB, like to tally up just how much energy ABB’s variable-speed drives have saved our customers over the previous 12 months. Once again the results are staggering, smashing all of our existing records. In 2014 the installed base of ABB drives saved 445 TWh (terawatt-hours) of energy. That’s equivalent to the annual energy usage of 110 million homes. Or the output of 44 nuclear power stations.
If that amount of energy were generated by fossil-fuel-powered electricity plants, these drives reduced CO2 emissions by 370 million metric tonnes. To offset that amount of CO2 would require the planting of nearly 10 billion trees, or a forest roughly four times the size of the UK.
2014 wasn’t a one-off either. The graph below demonstrates how variable-speed drives (VSD) are saving more and more energy year after year.
And remember, wherever energy is saved, money is saved. A motor incorporating a VSD uses only the energy that it needs at any given time. This usually reduces energy consumption by 30-50 percent, but in some cases it can be as high as 90 percent. A pump running at 50 percent requires just one eighth of the energy it would at full power.
Motors account for 28 percent of the world’s energy use, and yet 90 percent of these are installed without any sort of drive speed control, so there’s still huge potential to save even more. 2015 may still have a way to go, but I’m quietly confident that with the help of ABB’s most efficient drives and motors yet we’ll be celebrating smashing the record again this time next year.
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