Increased international cooperation on standards for energy efficiency needed

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Cooperation on International Standards to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions was given a major boost by a workshop in Paris, France, on 16-17 March 2009, which brought together 290 experts from the public and private sector.

The workshop confirmed that key players in the energy sector consider International Standards essential instruments to support the implementation of energy efficiency practices. The experts underlined their commitment to contribute to and collaborate in the development of these standards.

The workshop provided an opportunity to develop an overview of work that has to be done on energy efficiency and for technical experts and public sector decision makers to exchange information and map out the path forward. In particular, the importance of energy efficiency standardization was emphasized and how it can support carbon emissions reduction by providing internationally agreed metrics.

Presentations and discussion panels provided insights on the requirements and challenges related to energy efficiency and related standardization work in a variety of fields: industrial systems, power generation, buildings, electrical and electronic appliances, networks and data centres, transport and energy management.

The IEA and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predict that the world energy demand will increase by 45 % between now and 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. However, once metrics are developed, it becomes possible to give visibility to energy efficiency. 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."

ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele emphasized the importance of standardization for energy efficiency: "Today's trends in world energy demand give the sense of urgency. We need to act now with available solutions, which need to be applied and International Standards are part of the solution. ISO, IEC and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) provide standards that offer performance definitions, measurement and test methods, codification of best practices and management systems, design checklists and guides, interoperability, state-of-the-art knowledge formalized by recognized experts through double levels of consensus, amongst stakeholders and across countries."

Commenting on the event, IEC General Secretary & CEO Aharon Amit said: "IEC has a long experience of working on electrical efficiency standards. We need to be able to generate, transmit, and distribute more electricity with reduced impact. And we need to 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 maximize the potential from renewable energies."

Among the main recommendations of the workshop were the following:

  • 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 optimize involvement of experts in on-going standardization work at the sectoral, national, regional and international levels, ensuring exchange of information and promoting the use of already existing standards.
  • Adjust standardization processes and deliverables to be more adaptive in addressing fast-moving technologies and evolving usage contexts of products and services.

A fuller report of the workshop including its more detailed recommendations and PowerPoint presentation made by participants will be made available on the ISO Web site under "Hot topics", "Energy".

Sandrine Tranchard
Sandrine Tranchard

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