Coordinating Smart Grid roll-out

IEC outlines how its work helps assure interoperability

By Gabriela Ehrlich

IEC Immediate Past President Jacques Régis was invited by APEC SCSC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Subcommittee on Standards and Conformance) to provide an overview of IEC Smart Grid work. The workshop, which took place in Québec, Canada, on 16 May 2012, aims to help APEC economies to avoid unnecessary obstacles to trade and investment related to Smart Grid deployment and to promote the use of interoperable Smart Grid standards. The event was attended by energy regulators representing all APEC economies and took place in parallel to the World Energy Regulators Forum, where IEC President Klaus Wucherer spoke.

IEC Immediate Past President Jacques Régis was invited by APEC SCSC to give an overview of IEC Smart Grid work

Importance of stable electricity supply

Around the world, governments, businesses and private citizens are beginning to understand how important a stable supply of electrical energy is for the development of economies and the quality of life of individuals. Massive investments in grid modernization and Smart Grid deployment are driven by the need to meet surging electricity demands. Increasingly, power grids will need to integrate a broad range of energy sources, including renewable energy and distributed generation, while increasing efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. Interoperability standards will play an important role, opening bigger markets and lowering costs for infrastructure investments.

Adoption of Smart Grid interoperability standards

In November 2011, APEC Ministers and leaders endorsed the recommendation of the CTI(Committee on Trade and Investment) that APEC economies adopt Smart Grid interoperability standards to prevent unnecessary obstacles to trade and investment. These recommendations were based on the report of ARCAM (APEC Regulatory Cooperation Mechanism on Trade-Related Standards and Technical Regulations), which underlined this topic as an emerging regulatory issue for the APEC region.

Many APEC economies are actively promoting – or consider promoting – Smart Grids as a central means to achieve objectives related to environmental sustainability, energy security and economic growth. Smart Grid pilot projects are underway in Australia, Canada, China, South Korea, Japan and the US. While there are differences between individual economies, overall needs are relatively similar.

IEC coordinating Smart Grid standardization efforts

In this context, Régis was able to provide an overview of IEC relevant activities in developing International Smart Grid Standards that can be used by regulators to update national grids. The IEC had also been involved in the ARCAM Smart Grid Dialogue that emphasized the need for interoperability. In his presentation, Régis underlined how IEC TCs (Technical Committees)cooperate and coordinate on Smart Grid efforts and the ongoing collaboration with other international organizations and standards bodies in this area. Régis also stressed the importance of storage for Smart Grid implementation. Storage is key in the large-scale integration of renewable generation and allows to uphold power quality. He highlighted the IEC structure, including its global reach and independent status and spoke about IEC International Standards and Conformity Assessment Systems that cover all aspects of the electrical system.

Participation is key

Regulators heard how the IEC supports good regulatory practice and facilitates the development and roll-out of new technologies. Régis closed his presentation by encouraging them to start participating in the IEC process through their NCs (National Committees) to ensure that standards take their needs into account.

The report issued at the end of the workshop underlined the importance of International Standards in the development of Smart Grids and how they reduce trade barriers, increase economies of scale and reduce the risk in deploying new technologies.

wld-3_wef11_regis_lrg IEC Immediate Past President Jacques Régis was invited by APEC SCSC to give an overview of IEC Smart Grid work
Fotolia_23637322_L A stable supply of electrical energy is important for the development of economies and the quality of life of individuals
SCCQ_Ext_2 The APEC SCSC meeting was held at the Québec City Convention Centre (Photo QCCC)