At the World Energy Congress organized in Rome, Italy (11-15 November 2007), which included a special session on International Standards, Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission (EC), delivered the opening speech to an audience made up of some 3 000 industry leaders, regulators, energy conservation agencies and international organizations.

He declared: “If I am asked today what is the most important issue for global security and development, the issue with the highest potential for solutions but also for serious problems if we do not act in the right way, it is energy and climate change.

"Energy today is not only considered as a major challenge from an economic point of view but precisely for its implications for environment and climate. Because of increased competition for scarce resources, it poses serious concerns for global security”.

The EC President emphasized the commitment made by the European Union (EU) on a low-carbon energy future and underlined the importance of the World Energy Congress and the timeliness of its theme – "The energy future in an interdependent world".

The World Energy Council (WEC), organizer of the Congress, included a session on the role of International Standards, in collaboration with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It provided an overview of the key role that International Standards can play in supporting the development and promotion of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.

International Standards of the type produced by ISO and IEC were indeed recognized as part of the solution to today’s energy issues. Not only can they help avoid unnecessary technical barriers to trade which might result from national and regional policies, but they are also essential for creating global markets for efficient energy technologies and for disseminating good energy management practices.

They also provide common metrics for defining and measuring energy performance so that investment decisions and incentives may be targeted to encourage energy efficiency.  Moreover, international standards support scientific cooperation and the harmonization of public policies.

During the session, a panel presented how International Standards are already addressing these issues, provided many examples of the need for standardization, and what the next steps and priorities should be. One message stood out above the rest: the energy situation is pressing, the trends alarming, the time to act is now and International Standards are part of the solution. They can contribute to accelerate the short term and long term improvement of energy efficiency in all areas and the take up of renewable energy sources.

Paul Waide, from the International Energy Agency (IEA), highlighted the joint IEA-ISO Position Paper on the issue, which was used as background material for the 2007 G8 Meeting.

ISO Focus Special issue
2007 World Energy Congress

The ISO Secretary-General, Alan Bryden and the IEC President, Renzo Tani outlined the work their organizations are doing in order to promote the goal of a sustainable energy future in our interdependent world. The other panelists presented various examples of areas where International Standards were expected to contribute, both to energy efficiency in industry, transportation, building and appliances and for renewable energies. During the discussion, the issues of energy management standards and biofuels, for which ISO has recently created dedicated standardization committees, were also addressed.

Francisco Barnes, who chaired the session on behalf of WEC, concluded that a strategic partnership between the WEC, the IEA, ISO and IEC had been initiated and would be pursued in order to identify priorities for industry and governments and boost the production of globally relevant International Standards.

Composition of the Panel :

  • Francisco Barnés – Commissioner, Energy Regulatory Commission and WEC Vice-Chair for North America, Mexico
  • Paul Waide – Senior Policy Analyst, International Energy Agency (IEA)
  • Alan Bryden – Secretary-General, ISO
  • Renzo Tani – President, IEC
  • Bruno Manoha – Head Environment and Renewables, Electricité de France (EDF)
  • François Moisan – Director Energy and Transport, French Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME), and WEC Energy Efficiency Policies, France
  • Hunter Fanney – Chief, Building Environment Division, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), USA
  • Cesare Boffa – President of the Italian Committee on Heat Technology and former Vice President, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment (ENEA)