International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

December 2011


Input for the right output

IEC Market Strategy Board

Report to IEC Council by Enno Liess, IEC Vice-President and MSB (Market Strategy Board) Convenor


For the third time, Enno Liess presented his report on MSB activities to Council Board. And while he has agreed to stay on another year and lend his expertise to the Commission, he has now completed his final term as IEC Vice President.


In his report Liess provided a brief recapitulation of the membership, scope and history behind the MSB (see separate box) before delivering an outline of MSB contributions, recently completed work items and new upcoming projects:

2010 follow-up to White Paper and new Working Groups

Liess underlined that one of the most important MSB recommendations, which was provided for the Masterplan and as part of the MSB White Paper on Smart Electrification, was the need for a systems level approach. In 2010, a special working group under the leadership of Sujeet Chand, CTO of Rockwell, was established in order to propose a framework for the development of application standards and conformity assessment services. The group’s recommendations include the establishment of a systems approach policy as part of the ISO/IEC directives and the elaboration of a set of conformity assessment tools.

Masterplan recommendations

Also in 2010 the MSB was asked to provide its input for the IEC Masterplan. At the June meeting in Stockholm this year, the IEC General Secretary confirmed that several of the recommendations issued by the MSB have been accepted into the Masterplan. Those include the need to involve experienced people in IEC management and operational structures so as to secure highly qualified, market-oriented expertise, and the restructuring of the IEC conformity assessment activities to add the system-level perspective. With regard to the latter, a strategic working group on system level conformity assessment was put in place and one of the first areas of focus is the generation of wind power.

Increasing industry relevance

In order to increase the efficiency with which the IEC prioritizes technical work, a special working group: Technology and Market Watch led by Professor Tomita from Tokyo University was put in place and tasked with setting up a mechanism to help the IEC gather technical and market trend information.

Continue doing what it does best

The special working group Outreach to Consortia led by Dr Donald Deutsch, Vice President at Oracle, organized a workshop with IT industry representatives in 2010 to discuss the pros and cons of consortia and forum standards in this area. Another meeting with different industries was organized in 2011 to collect their views on standards and the role the IEC should occupy in this area. In essence industry representatives recommended that the IEC continue providing what it does best – IEC International Standards – but that it should further improve its processes and raise awareness and participation in its work. These findings were shared with the SMB.

White Paper on Electrical Energy Storage

The biggest project for the MSB in 2011 concerned the development of a new White Paper on Energy Storage under the leadership of Dr Nakamura, former Vice President of Tepco.


One of the things that became immediately obvious when the MSB worked on the first White Paper was how crucially important Electrical Energy Storage would soon become. New renewable power stations are put in service every day, but storage, which is indispensable to accelerate the integration of this energy source into the grid, is often left out.


The MSB identified the need to analyze the role of energy storage in electricity use and identify all available technologies, and their market potential. The White Paper was also to provide market guidance for the work of the IEC in support of this industry.

Crucially important for the adoption of renewable energy

Storage systems not only help smooth out intermittent generation, such as those by wind and the sun, but they also help modulate excessive power fluctuation and undependable power supplies.  They allow storing away excess production during off-peak time, which can then be used during peak demand; this helps make full use of the generation potential and reduces the cost of electricity. Energy Storage also allows to increase the reliability of the network and provides back-up during power failures. Finally in Microgrids and decentralized generation it allows for optimization and planning for local consumption.

Bringing in outside resources for added efficiency

One of the key learnings from the first White Paper was that to speed up the work and make best use of the expertise of participating members it was necessary to add outside resources. That’s why the MSB asked the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems to become involved and coordinate some of the processes. The institute helped organize a workshop, inviting external experts in order to broaden the knowledge base and increase the quality of the work. Experts from relevant IEC TCs and SCs also participated. The institute then wrote the first draft of the project report, which was discussed and amended by the special working group in June.


As a result, the second White Paper of the MSB Electrical Energy Storage was completed in less than 10 months and was presented at the General Meeting in Melbourne.

New project on integration of large-scale batteries and renewables

Dr Yinbao Shu has taken the lead to set up a new special working group on the integration of large-scale energy storage and renewables into the grid. The working group will assess world-wide integration needs; identify trends and related technologies, build the world-wide framework of standards that are needed in this area and develop the relevant roadmap.

This special working group intends to cooperate with a US academic institution, which is to organize and host a workshop similar to the one that was run by the Fraunhofer Institute.

Disaster relief, Microgrids, Nanotechnology

Several other special working groups have now been set up, including one to analyse disaster preparedness and recovery, and two that are tasked with market watch and road mapping activities in the area of Microgrids  and Nanotechnology.

Over the coming months and years, the MSB will continue to focus on the systems approach. It will also define and build the mechanisms that will allow it to conduct a continuous and effective technology and market watch under the new leadership of Dr Donald Deutsch.

An efficient body – much remains to be done

The MSB is now three years into its existence and the general consensus is that it is an effective body that is doing a good and useful job, providing essential direct market input. Many of the recommendations now need to be put in place, but there is no doubt that the MSB fills an important function in the IEC.


MSB: history, scope and accomplishments


The creation of a Market Strategy Board was first discussed in the context of the implementation of the 2006 Masterplan. At that time the Executive Committee of the IEC recommended that a new body be created, whose primary task would be to provide direct market feedback to the IEC. That recommendation was approved by the Council Board in October 2007.


The first meeting of the MSB took place on Saturday 22 November 2008 immediately after the IEC General Meeting in São Paolo.


The membership of the MSB includes 15 high-level representatives – mainly CEOs or CTOs – of major manufacturers, utilities and service providers that represent equally the most important regions of the world.


To signify the importance of this new body, it is chaired by the IEC President and includes IEC Officers as ex officio members. All members are selected by the IEC President.


The MSB builds on the successful aspects of the Sector Boards and the President’s Advisory Committee on future Technology but replaced both of them. It operates alongside the SMB (Standardization Management Board) and CAB (Conformity Assessment Board) and reports to Council Board.


Enno Liess was elected as Vice-President, starting his mandate on 1 October 2007, and tasked with the extensive job of creating and then convening the Market Strategy Board. His official mandate ended at the General Meeting in Melbourne, but Liess agreed to stay on for a further year to lend his extensive expertise to the MSB.


The scope of the MSB is to identify market trends and needs and to help establish the market priorities for standardization in those fields.  Its aim is to help the Commission increase its ability to set priorities in line with industry expectations and requirements, and stay ahead of industry needs in an increasingly global market with ever more rapid technology development and convergence.


The MSB publishes recommendations in a form that differs from International Standards.

To accomplish its work, the MSB sets up special working groups that are dissolved after they have completed their work.

Published recommendations:

The special working group Electrical Energy Efficiency under the leadership of Claude Breining of Schneider Electric prepared and published a White Paper: Coping with the Energy Challenge. The IEC’s role from 2010 to 2030, which was accepted by Council at the end of 2009 and officially launched at the World Energy Congress in Montreal in September 2010.





  • IEC Vice-President and MSB Convenor Enno Liess
  • Renewable energy generation needs to be backed up by efficient energy storage
  • The MSB aims to identify new market trends and stay ahead of industry needs



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