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International standards important to renewable energy

28 October, 2009

“Energy – why International Standards are vital” was the theme addressed by high level panels of energy experts participating recently at the 32nd General Assembly of ISO (the International Organisation for Standardisation).

The presentations and discussions revolved around the point that meeting global energy challenges are central to building a sustainable future.

The ISO President, Dr. Alan Morrison, in his address underlined that standards provide the indispensable practical details needed to leverage solutions in the fields of climate change, energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

Nobuo Tanaka, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), stated in his keynote address to the first of two panels (on energy efficiency) that current global energy trends are quite simply unsustainable.

Tanaka explained that limiting the temperature increase to around two degrees Celsius will require that CO2 emissions be reduced by at least 50 % by 2050. To realise this scenario, the IEA has found that emissions would need to be limited to 26 gigatonnes (Gt) by 2030, versus the IEA's expectation that they will reach 41 Gt if policies do not change ("business as usual" scenario).

Tanaka emphasised that immediate action and implementation is needed using appropriate approaches that are measurable, reportable and verifiable. In this regard, international standards on energy efficiency and renewable energy play a vital role by:

- Reducing the costs of policy development
- Ensuring policy consistency
- Monitoring energy and CO2 savings
- Ensuring the quality, performance and reliability of energy products
- Building consumer and government confidence in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Tanaka said there was an opportunity to update initiatives highlighted in the joint ISO/IEA paper on energy submitted in the context of the G8 meeting in June 2007. He also highlighted the need to build on results of the recent workshop held by the IEA, ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on “International Standards to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions”.

The keynote address to the second panel (on renewable energy sources) of the open session was delivered by the President, Jacques Régis, the IEC president and former senior executive of Hydro-Québec, Canada, who spoke on the theme of, “Renewable energy – A step towards sustainability.”

He highlighted the critical work underway in IEC relating to renewable energies, the "smart grid" and electrical energy efficiency (E3).

Régis underlined the importance of international cooperation between IEC, ISO, IEA and other relevant organisations to ensure that International Standards and conformity assessment solutions are produced in time to meet global challenges

Other presentations were made by international energy experts from France, Singapore, the USA, South Africa, Iceland, Denmark, Australia, Germany, Israel, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

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