Push for closer international cooperation on energy efficiency standards

Thursday, 16 April, 2009

Using international standards to promote energy efficiency through effective public policies and private sector actions was the topic of a recent IEC workshop jointly organised with IEA (International Energy Agency) and ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation), bringing together 290 experts from public and private sectors.

The conference confirmed that key players in the energy sector consider international standards essential instruments to support energy efficiency, while emphasising the need for high-quality test and measurement standards in energy efficiency. Presentations and discussion panels provided insights on the requirements and challenges related to energy efficiency and standardisation work in fields such as industrial systems, power generation, buildings, electrical appliances, networks and data centres and energy management.

IEC General Secretary and CEO Ronnie Amit said: “The IEC has a long experience of working on energy-efficiency standards. We need to be able to generate, transmit and distribute more electricity with reduced impact and use electricity more intelligently. While the IEC continues to issue the standards for existing technologies, including energy efficiency for industrial and domestic uses, it is also working on new areas including ultra-high-voltage transmission and integrated smart grids, while continuing to maximise the potential from renewable energies.”

The IEA and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) predict that world energy demand will increase by 45% by 2030 without remedial action. Pieter Boot, Director of the IEA's Directorate of Sustainable Energy Policy and Technology, said: “Energy efficiency is here, but not easily seen. Making energy efficiency visible is the first task to giving it commercial value, but this is only partly complete. Technical standards allow efficiency to be defined, measured and evaluated. They are the foundation of all policy and private sector actions to reduce energy intensity.”

Key recommendations were:

  • Highlight and promote the complementary relationship between public policies and technical standards, communicating clearly that standards provide technical solutions.
  • Encourage participation from the earliest stages in the standards development process of all stakeholders (particularly representatives of public authorities and consumers) having relevant interests in promoting energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.
  • Improve coordination and optimise involvement of experts in ongoing standardisation work at the sectoral, national, regional and international levels, ensuring exchange of information and promoting the use of existing standards.
  • Adjust standardisation processes and deliverables to be more adaptive in addressing fast-moving technologies and evolving usage contexts of products and services.
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