SMB review and focus

SMB Chairman shares board's key decisions

By Gabriela Ehrlich

IEC e-tech talked to James E. Matthews III, IEC Vice-President and Chairman of the SMB (Standardization Management Board) during the General Meeting in Tokyo, Japan. Matthews shared key decisions and why they are needed to ensure IEC relevance in the future.

James E Mathews, Chair IEC CAB
James E. Matthews III, IEC Vice-President and Chairman of the SMB

SMB Tokyo meeting

The SMB was once more highly efficient in its Tokyo meeting: 31 decisions were taken, new groups were created and others were evolved with an aim to position the IEC for the important tasks it needs to address now and in the future.

Systems - full speed ahead

IEC systems work once again occupied the front seat with several new SEGs (Systems Evaluation Group) being created and two SyCs (Systems Committee) confirming their Chairs.

Bringing smartness to cities

SEG 1: Smart Cities, has been able to bring quite a number of different stakeholders to the table, focusing their work on high-level needs in this area. SEG 1 is due to submit a final report in June 2015 and will most likely be transformed into a SyC later in the year.

Improving energy efficiency and access to off-grid power

SEG 4: Low voltage direct current applications, distribution and safety for use in developed and developing economies, has the potential to offer important energy efficiency savings in a broad variety of technical applications in residential, commercial, public, industrial, renewable energy and e-mobility environments.

Off-grid and for emergencies

LVDC (low-voltage direct current) is a good technology for island micro grids, for example for the provision of off-grid power for lighting and small household appliances, as well as for water purification or battery charging. Japan is researching the use of PV (photovoltaic) generated DC power for emergency use during natural disasters.

Avoiding conversion losses

Nowadays, many types of electronic equipment and energy storage systems are able to directly use DC power sources, including wind or solar. Such direct use of renewable energy has the potential to significantly reduce inefficiencies and losses through DC to AC to DC power conversions.

Energy efficiency gains of 10 to 25% are achievable through LVDC use in household installations. Again, these gains are mainly due to the avoidance of transformation losses. Datacentres, rail systems, mining, manufacturing machinery…the list where LVDC can lead to energy savings is long.

Roadmap, gaps and needs

SEG 4 will now focus on developing a standardization roadmap, identifying needs and gaps so as to recommend future standardization work to be undertaken by the IEC. It will also try to identify the scenarios in which LVDC works and where it doesn’t. To do so it will evaluate the usage of LVDC in different integration environments in developed and developing economies. The objective is to enhance energy efficiency and to develop new ways in which to utilize LVDC power. The SEG is now actively engaging with all relevant stakeholders within and outside the IEC.
SEG 4 will work in close collaboration with SEG 6: Non-traditional distribution networks/Microgrids. The SMB has appointed Vimal Mahendru (India) as Convenor. Mahendru has also been newly elected as India’s first representative to the SMB. With him the IEC will have the full support of the Indian Government for LVDC activities.

EVs interdependency with the grid

This is a critical time for both the car industry and power supply systems. Plug-in EVs (electric vehicles) are likely to have a significant impact on the electricity supply infrastructure and its services. New charging locations will result in new infrastructure needs and constraints on the power grid. Also, EVs will both call for and contribute to Smart Grids and they are tightly linked to cities and Smart Energy. Finally, car manufacturers are starting to better understand how charging and wireless charging are connected to the grid. The IEC has an important role in defining and setting interoperable International Standards to create confidence in the e-mobility market.

Systems approach for e-mobility

SEG 5: Electrotechnology for mobility, will map the interaction between EVs and the electricity supply infrastructure, establishing a systems approach for International e-mobility Standards. It will do so in close synchronization and coordination with automobile manufacturers, suppliers, other SDOs (standards developing organizations), IEC SyC: Smart Energy, IEC SEG 1, all relevant IEC TCs and SCs (Technical Committees and Subcommittees) as well as fora and consortia.

SG (Strategic Group) 6, the predecessor of SEG 5 was disbanded in Tokyo and the SMB thanked its Convenor, Claude Ricaud, for the work accomplished.

Good quality island power

Business cases and market needs for the development of non-traditional distribution networks for example for rural electrification, nano- building grids, and facility and/ or campus grids are now emerging. Microgrids can bring good quality electricity to smaller towns and villages, improving the lives of millions. Some of these microgrids may in the future even be connected to traditional/ interconnected grids.

SEG 6: Non-traditional distribution networks/Microgrids, is tasked with assessing aspects of such networks. It will closely collaborate with TC 8: Systems aspects for electrical energy supply, SyC: Smart Energy and SEG 4: LVDC to provide the SMB with its recommendations regarding an approach to standardization in this area. Dr. Wenpeng Luan, an expert on distribution networks with State Grid Corporation of China, led ahG (ad hoc Group) 53, which was disbanded in Tokyo, and has now been appointed by the SMB as Convenor of SEG 6.

Systems Chairs appointed

The SMB appointed Mr Richard Schomberg as the Chair of SyC: Smart Energy and Mrs Ulrike Haltrich as Chair of SyC: Ambient Assisted Living. Both SyCs will decide on the need and roles for Vice-Chairs.

Not missing the call

In order to decide on the best way forward with regard to IEC contributions to the telecoms industry, the SMB agreed to set up ahG 55: Needs of the telecommunications sector in IEC. As part of its assignment, ahG 55 will explore which vehicle - possibly a Systems Evaluation Group or a Strategic Group on ICT (Information and Communication Technology) - would be the most efficient. The ahG is also tasked with outlining the mission and deliverables for such a group, as well as its interactions inside and outside of the IEC. Last but not least ahG 55 would describe the kind of background and qualifications potential participants of this group would have to fulfil.

Privacy matters

With data collection expanding to every part of our private, public and professional lives, privacy and security are growing exponentially in importance. In order to give security and privacy the same treatment throughout the IEC, the SMB decided to set up ACSEC, the new Advisory Committee on Security. It will become the focal point for all questions in this area, providing guidance as needed and reflecting best practice not only from within the IEC but also beyond, by ISO/IEC JTC 1: Information technology, and ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

ACSEC will cover information security and data privacy matters which are not specific to a single TC of the IEC and provide relevant insights and advice to the SMB and guidance to TC/SCs for their own implementation.

ACSEC will also offer a platform for the exchange of information on this topic between the IEC and other SDOs, and closely follow research activities and trends in Academia. The Advisory Committee will be chaired by Markus Reigl of Germany.

Keeping things simple and efficient

Last but not least, as part of its effort to ensure maximum relevance and efficiency of IEC work, the SMB has completed the streamlining and validation of reports from TCs and SCs and helped to improve and clarify the structure of SBPs (Strategic Business Plans). The aim is to make certain that they contain useful information structured in a consistent way. TCs and SCs will start using the new reports as of January 2015.

Next meeting

The SMB meets three times a year. The next scheduled meeting will take place in February 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland, with many important topics to be covered.

James E Mathews, Chair IEC CAB James E. Matthews III, IEC Vice-President and Chairman of the SMB
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