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In the last 50 years, the global population has consumed more goods and services than the combined total of all previous generations. This has fostered economic growth and improved the quality of life for many while having a negative impact on the environment. However, consumption patterns differ significantly between developed and developing nations.
As the use of Smart Grids escalates around the world, the IEC is busy updating some of its most requested International Standards. Technical Committee (TC) 57: Power systems management and associated information exchange, is working on the IEC 61850 series of Standards.
Want a weather update, real-time air pollution status, or are you just trying to find that elusive parking space? It’s simple…ask the lamppost!
Energy, and especially electricity, is the golden thread that impacts the majority of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and furthermore, the development of every nation and economy. The UN recognizes electricity access as a key pillar for economic development because it helps to reduce poverty and hunger, improves educational opportunities and enables higher quality healthcare.
Protecting energy security and critical energy infrastructure against cyber attacks is fast emerging as an absolute priority. In mid-February, the EnergyPact Foundation organized an international conference in Vienna on cyber security aimed at protecting such infrastructure. Eyal Adar, an expert on cyber security, outlined the extent of IEC standardization and Conformity Assessment (CA) activities in the domain, giving details of the areas to which they apply.
The oil and gas industry sector has faced many challenges in recent years. The severe drop in oil prices has affected companies and economies throughout the world. In parallel, the need to for developed and developing countries to tackle climate change, introduce cleaner energy sources – renewables such as solar and wind, hydro – into the mix and become more energy efficient has seen some significant results when the Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016.
The past year may not have seen significant breakthroughs in the tech world but 2017 is promising some interesting technological developments.
It has been a busy year for Systems Evaluation Group (SEG) 4: Low Voltage Direct Current (LVDC) Applications, Distribution and Safety for use in Developed and Developing Economies. During the IEC 2016 General Meeting (GM) in Frankfurt, SEG 4 Convenor, Vimal Mahendru, presented a final report to the Standardization Management Board (SMB). The SMB voted in favour of the proposal to set up a Systems Committee (SyC) for LVDC and LVDC for electricity access.
The interoperation between electrical and mechanical energies has existed for a long time. In standardization and conformity assessment, the need to provide a holistic solution to cover both is vital for industry and the community. While this may have been a given for most industries, the Ex sector has, for many years, focused exclusively on electrical equipment for its standardization and conformity assessment needs. This is no longer the case.
Explosive (Ex) atmospheres – also termed hazardous areas/locations – which can be caused by flammable gases, mists or vapours or by combustible dusts, are by no means restricted to the oil, gas and petrochemical industry sectors. The risk of fire or explosion exists in a variety of other sectors, such as transportation – including aerospace – furniture manufacturing, automotive manufacturing and repair, pharmaceuticals, food processing, grain handling and storage, sugar refineries and coal mining. They all utilize flammable substances in quantities that may result in concentrations that are potentially explosive, whether that is during normal operation or due to abnormal situations arising.
IEC work impacts all aspects of life. Electricity and electronics are the cornerstone for all economies in developing and developed countries. IEC International Standards together with IEC Conformity Assessment Systems support 12 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
From the smartphone alarm first thing in the morning to switching off the lights last thing at night, many products and systems in our daily lives run off electricity. We use the hairdryer, washing machine, stove, get on and off transport and walk through automated doors at the office, take the elevator, fire up the computer and purchase items online, expecting that everything will work reliably and safely.
Renewable Energy (RE) plays an increasingly important role in providing global populations with clean, affordable, sustainable energy. RE production and use continues to increase thanks to the falling cost of equipment and installation.
Information is gathered and decision making occurs at substation level in Smart Grids. The electricity-dispatching control centre deals with the strategic management of grid intelligence, while automated management handles transmission and distribution. An intelligent substation reports electricity consumption, switchboard operation, information gathering, and station decision making back to the electricity dispatching control centre. Generally, substations are unattended and rely on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) for remote supervision and control.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is increasingly used in locations that need constant monitoring – banks, casinos, airports, military installations or shopping malls, to name but a few. A great number of municipalities around the world have installed CCTV cameras in sensitive areas of their cities to deter criminality and monitor traffic. Many industry sectors resort to video surveillance in their manufacturing processes. And video cameras are playing a major role in the monitoring and management of explosive (Ex) areas.
During the United Nations Climate Convention – 2015 Paris COP 21, it was recognized that renewable energy (RE) is a key part of the answer to achieving sustainable development and reducing the impact of climate change. Global electricity networks must adapt and include RE technologies.
We don’t think twice about using lights at home during the day or after dark. We have also got used to charging our smart phones wherever we are – at the airport, on a train or in the office – so that we can make online purchases, read the news, send messages, do banking or make a call. When we forget our phones or there is a blackout for an hour and we can’t watch television, use the computer or boil the kettle, we find it very annoying, but imagine if this were the norm.
World energy consumption is expected to grow by 37% by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) energy markets forecast, which assumes the continuation of existing policies and measures and their implementation.
Continuing global growth in the on-line sector and so-called cloud services means a comparable and significant increase in the power use associated with those services. Major internet-based businesses such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft are pushing for more dedicated renewable energy to meet their specific needs, but systems efficiency can also make a major contribution to curbing energy use. Emerging standards have a key role to play.
Over the last five years, the cost of renewable power generation technologies has dropped while the technology has improved. Biomass for power, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind can all now provide electricity competitively compared to fossil fuel-fired power generation, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
On 30 and 31 March 2016, the first International Conference on Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) took place in Beijing, China. The event was initiated by State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Edison Institute and Caring for Climate (C4C), and co-organized among others with the IEC. Dr Shu, IEC Vice President and President of SGCC, and Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary & CEO, both presented how such a vision can be brought to reality, to an audience of more than 500 people.
Electric motors have many uses, in heavy industry, hospital generators, power tools, pumps to clean swimming pools, and many transport vehicles. Yet, they are the single biggest users of electricity, driving pumps, fans and other machines.
The decreasing cost of electronic devices and growing access to mobile technology and wireless networks are driving the expansion of the digital economy. Integrating biosensors into this mix could bring great benefits for medical care and for increasing safety in hazardous environments. IEC standardization work will have an important role to play in these developments.
Contrary to preconceived ideas, hazardous areas are not the “privilege” of a few specific industry sectors. They can be found almost anywhere at any given time when certain conditions leading to the formation of an explosive atmosphere are met.
A sense of collective responsibility is required to cope with the growing dependence on energy, given the fundamentally unpredictable nature of primary energy supply, the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources and changing energy consumption demands and patterns. The growing need for decentralized (local or remote, residential or commercial) power generation calls for systems that maximize small-scale electrical efficiency. Fuel cells (FCs) are ideal candidates for fulfilling this demand. In fact, at 60% proven net electrical efficiency for generators with a power output as low as 1 kWe, FC systems are head and shoulders above any other fuel conversion technology. If they are to succeed in being deployed widely, FCs for stationary applications should be able to use any locally available fuel. When and if production volumes manage to cover the extensive need for small-to-medium scale generation – which will also depend on the realization of anticipated reductions in cost – there is no reason why FCs should not also be used on the largest scales of power production.
What is conformity assessment (CA)? Why is it important? Why is it inevitably linked to standards? Does it really add value to products and systems? Does it have a role in fighting counterfeit goods? Does it facilitate access to markets and trade? Those are just a few of the many questions that were raised during the World Standards Cooperation (WSC) Workshop on Conformity Assessment that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, on 1-2 December 2015.
Do you realize that your local bakery may be a potentially hazardous location? In fact any area where flour, sugar, or any other type of powder is stored or processed is a potential risk area. Your kitchen as well, if you think of it, since you’re bound to regularly use a wide variety of ingredients in powder form.
On the one hand, energy efficiency is a new way of life that requires behavioural changes on the consumer’s part. On the other, the pressure is on the manufacturers of electrical equipment and devices to produce goods that consume as little energy as possible.