ABB electric drives save $34 billion in electricity

Zurich, June 11, 2012 — ABB has released its annual estimate of the savings achieved by its installed base of drives. About 310 million MWh of electric power was saved by ABB drives in 2011, an increase of 19 percent compared with the previous year.

Electric drives are used to regulate the speed and power consumption of electric motors. Industrial electric motors account for about 25 percent of all the electricity consumed worldwide.

The savings from ABB drives in 2011 is equivalent to 260 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions — had this power been generated by fossil fuels. Specifically, ABB drives helped deliver electricity costs savings of about $34 billion for customers.

Electric motors are used widely in industry, for example, when pumping water, running fans and air conditioning, conveying goods over belts, rolling steel, moving elevators, etc.

ABB's annual savings estimate is based on a comparison of the average electricity consumption in applications with and without drives. Many electric motors that are not equipped with drive technology run at maximum speed and are simply throttled if less performance is needed.

Energy accounts for 92 to 95 percent of the life cycle cost of a motor, depending on its size, so an investment in electric drives typically pays back in less than two years.

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