New collaborative platform drives RE innovation

By Janice Blondeau

Hundreds of standards for Renewable Energy technology are now accessible in one easy-to-use platform.

Puzzle cooperation
The INSPIRE platform is the result of a collaborative effort between IRENA, IEC and the European Patent Office

Advancing Renewable Energy

A significant advance for policy makers and other energy sector players means they can now access the world’s largest collection of global Renewable Energy standards and patents, through a new online platform launched by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).  INSPIRE, the International Standards and Patents in Renewable Energy platform, is the first and most complete solution of its kind. Users can search through, locate and analyse 400 International Standards and more than 2 million patents for Renewable Energy technology.

One-stop shop

Through collaboration between IRENA, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the IEC, the INSPIRE platform enables users to search through a database of more than 400 internationally-used standards and generate reports as needed. It also explains what standards are, how they can be used and why they are important for quality assurance, investor confidence and technology trading. The patents section houses the world’s most comprehensive global patent database for carbon mitigation technologies, the EPO’s PATSTAT, which contains nearly two million patent documents.

Precious for regulators  

By linking the technical information in IEC International Standards to practical applications in renewable energy, INSPIRE will be a precious resource for energy regulators. It will assist policy makers to find relevant International Standards faster and more efficiently. It will also help educate stakeholders about the strategic role of International Standards and conformity assessment for the cost-efficient expansion of Renewable Energy generation.

In standardization, the IEC work covers Renewable Energy generated from water, the sun and the wind via IEC Technical Committee (TC) 4: Hydraulic turbines, TC 82: Solar photovoltaic energy systems, TC 88: Wind turbines, TC 114: Marine energy - Wave, tidal and other water current converters, and TC 117: Solar thermal electric plants. The work of TC 105: Fuel cell technologies is also key for ongoing RE development.

IECRE, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications, aims to facilitate international trade in equipment and services for use in Renewable Energy Sectors while maintaining the required level of safety. To do so it operates a single, global certification system and aims for acceptance by local/national authorities or other bodies requiring and benefiting from certification.


The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is mandated as the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by 141 Members (140 States and the European Union). Roughly 31 additional countries are in the accession process and actively engaged. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.

About Renewable Energy

What is the link between IEC Standards and renewable energies? It has to do with the environment. IEC recognizes the growing importance of preserving the environment and the role electrotechnical standardization has to play to foster sustainable development.

Large scale use of Renewable Energy, or RE, is important for the future for several reasons: to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels, to combat global warming, and to raise the living standard of people in developing countries. Much of RE is an emerging field of research, technology and manufacturing and a new industry is growing up.

Puzzle cooperation The INSPIRE platform is the result of a collaborative effort between IRENA, IEC and the European Patent Office
Wind turbine The IEC develops International Standards for the wind energy sector...
Solar power station ...and for the solar power sector