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

News release – 2009 Number 12

IEC takes charge of setting global standards for Smart Grid

IEC has convened the world's leading experts on Smart Grid technology


Geneva, Switzerland, 2009-05-26 The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is spearheading a global initiative to support the new "smart" electric power grids around the world with common technical standards that ensure interoperability, security and energy savings.


SMB Strategic Group 3 - Smart Grid

IEC has convened the world's leading experts on Smart Grid technology. The group met at a workshop in Paris, France last month hosted by IEC member, UTE, and the EDF Group R&D. The experts agreed on a roadmap to ensure interoperability of Smart Grid systems.


Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, Frank Kitzantides, IEC Vice-President and former Vice-President of the US National Electrical Manufacturers’ Association, said: "I am delighted that IEC has taken charge of global interoperability in setting International Standards for the Smart Grid. This will be of tremendous benefit, not only to industries dedicated to catalyzing technology and business progress worldwide, but also to the end-user who is searching for ways to use electrical energy in a more meaningful manner."


The meeting, convened by Richard Schomberg, US Vice President Research at EDF, brought together experts from the 13 nations that constitute the group: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, UK and the US. The experts were specialists in electrical generation, distribution, transmission, consumption and measurement.


According to Richard Schomberg, "while the term ‘Smart Grid’ may appear to be a new concept, it has been used for many years around the world." He said that the IEC group of experts has defined it as:

"Smart Grid is the concept of modernizing the electric grid. The Smart Grid is integrating the electrical and information technologies in-between any point of Generation and any point of Consumption."


The interoperability is a new challenge to integrate large numbers of complex technology "bricks" across the board. As part of the initial framework for Smart Grid, the Strategic Group designated 19 technical committees whose existing International Standards play a role in the Smart Grid structure.


Says Schomberg, "The IEC is a 'beacon' for the electrical industry in terms of Smart Grid, and we're starting to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for the large number of Smart Grid projects that are being launched around the world."


With help from the world's leading Smart Grid experts, the IEC is developing a web portal allowing those involved in Smart Grid projects with an easy access to a first release of the IEC Smart Grid Framework offering ready to use standards as well as some guidance to make the most of them in their current status. Manufacturers, designers and distributors will be able to visit it to find a single database of all IEC Smart Grid related standards they can use for the projects they are developing and obtain guidance on how best to make use of them.


The importance of common technical standards in deploying the Smart Grids was also underlined last week by the US Department of Energy which issued its list of first National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-recognized interoperability standards including IEC 60870-6, IEC 61850, IEC 61968, IEC 61970, and IEC 62351 Parts 1-8 dealing with Information Security for power system control operations.


At its next meeting, scheduled for end of September 2009 in Washington, DC, the IEC group will develop guidance for the different technical sectors to bring together a comprehensive set of harmonized global standards supporting the Smart Grid requirements.


IEC Contact

Gabriela Ehrlich
Head of Communications
Tel: +41 22 919 02 78
Email: Gabriela Ehrlich


IEC Contact

Peter Lanctot
Secretary Strategic Group on Smart Grid
Tel: +1 508 755 5663
Email: Peter Lanctot