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

IEC e-tech – May 2014

IEC e-tech: May 2014



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Editor in Chief:

Gabriela Ehrlich


Managing Editor e-tech :

Claire Marchand



Janice Blondeau

Morand Fachot

Zoé Smart


Energy at the core of IEC activities


For more than a century now, the IEC has led the way in electrotechnical standardization, and power generation has always played a major role in the Commission’s work.


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Full steam ahead!


Steam turbines, first introduced in the late 19th century, have been in demand ever since for electricity generation, marine propulsion and in industry. They are responsible for producing some 80% of the world's electricity, from fossil and nuclear fuels as well as from certain renewable sources, and are likely to continue generating most of it in future.


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Thermal solar moves into the mainstream


CSP has long been viewed favourably by the wholesale energy sector. Advances in technology have succeeded in converting that sentiment into reality as a series of major new projects are commissioned. However, there is still some ground to cover before the technology achieves its potential. One crucial area is the development of industry International Standard.


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Journey to the centre of the Earth


Geothermal energy, or heat from the Earth, is an abundant form of renewable energy that can be used in small or large scale applications. Its exploitation is expanding rapidly throughout the world. A number of IEC TCs prepare International Standards for components or systems central to the development of geothermal energy.


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More than a drop from the ocean


Nowadays, marine energy accounts for only a tiny proportion of the electricity produced from renewable sources. However it is forecast to represent a very sizeable share of the overall global supply by 2050, complementing other renewables such as sun and wind. To achieve this result, various technologies that are currently at the research or testing stage, in the form of small single elements or of arrays of elements, will have to be developed to full scale systems and projects deployed on a worldwide basis.


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Renewables' impact powers on


Steadily growing demand for electricity and efforts to reduce the share of fossil fuels in power generation, so cutting both noxious emissions and dependence on imports, have led to a rapid expansion of the RE (renewable energy) sector. This shift has consequences for the environment, economy and labour market in many countries and regions of the world. Estimates vary greatly, but all point to systemic changes in a number of area.


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Standards for marine energy move on


Marine energy is emerging as a huge source of renewable energy but depends on disparate kinds of energies, all of which require different technologies for their full exploitation. IEC TC 114: Marine energy, prepares International Standards for this promising sector.


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Compatibility and interconnectivity


In recent years, major power outages have been able to paralyze whole regions or countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Can this happen again? Probably, but there are ways of ensuring that energy generation, transmission and distribution occurs in the safest, most reliable and efficient way possible. This is where IECEE comes into play. In its almost 30 years of existence, IECEE has established an unsurpassed worldwide reputation for the testing and certification of electrical and electronic equipment.


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Minimizing risks


While many countries throughout the world are integrating renewable energy sources in their energy mix, they still rely heavily on fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal). While there is no guarantee that working in Ex atmospheres can be 100% risk-free, the oil and gas industry and the mining sector have tools at their disposal to make their environment as safe as possible. The IEC, together with IECEx, provides very specific tools for those manufacturing, repairing or operating equipment used in hazardous areas.


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Have faith in your electronics


Today’s world is as smart as it is thanks to the extensive use of electronic components of all types. To ensure that devices and systems retain that "smartness" throughout their entire life cycle, these same components have to work flawlessly. There only needs to be one faulty component out of hundreds or thousands to cause malfunctions that can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. IECQ provides independent verification that electronic components, related materials and processes comply with appropriate standards and specifications.


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Using the smartness of our cities


IEC Standardization Strategy Manager Jack Sheldon was one of the IEC representatives at the Forum of Smart City International Standardization, organized by SAC (Standardization Administration of China), and held in Guilin, Guangxi, China on 24 February 2014.He spoke to e-tech about IEC Smart Cities work.


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Scaling up efficiency and renewables through standardization


With global energy demand forecast to increase by 33% between now and 2025, the IEC co-hosted, with IEA (International Energy Agency) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization), a workshop on International Standards in support of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies in Paris on 13 March 2014.


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Calling tomorrow’s IEC leaders


For the IEC Young Professionals programme 2014 workshop, IEC National Committees have until the end of July to register participants, selected at national level. The 2014 workshop will be held in Tokyo in November during the IEC General Meeting.


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May 2014 nominations


The month of May sees newly-appointed Chairmen taking over the helm of TC 13: Electrical energy measurement and control, TC 33: Power capacitors and their applications, TC 35: Primary cells and batteries, TC 44: Safety of machinery - Electrotechnical aspects and TC 122: UHV AC transmission systems.


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Keeping the lights on


The work of the IEC to develop International Standards to enable switches, plugs, cables, sensors, connectors, resistors and capacitors to fit and work safely together across energy generation, transmission, storage, right down to individual devices is well known. What is perhaps less recognized is IEC’s role as the global platform that helps keeps the lights on – a role that underpins many aspects of our daily lives. A new Energy zone on the IEC website which showcases IEC’s energy-focused achievements, and the benefits that standardization brings, has just been launched.


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