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European Standards Organisations drive international cooperation on Smart Grids – the electricity networks of the future


20 Jun 2012



The European Standards Organisations – CEN, CENELEC and ETSI – are engaged in an ongoing dialogue with partners around the world, in order to share knowledge and coordinate the development of standards that are needed to accelerate the deployment of the next generation of electricity networks, known as ‘Smart Grids’. The three organisations hosted an international meeting in Brussels on 18 and 19 June, with the participation of high-level delegations from Brazil, China, Japan, Korea and the USA.

The three European Standards Organisations (ESOs) – CEN (European Committee for Standardization), CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) – have set up a Smart Grid Coordination Group (SG-CG), which is working to develop standards for the next generation of electricity networks, known as „Smart Grids‟. This work is being carried out in the framework of a mandate issued by the European Commission, and with the active involvement of experts from the energy and ICT industries.

Wishing to share knowledge and coordinate their efforts with those responsible for relevant standards in major markets around the world, the ESOs took the initiative to convene a high-level meeting at the CEN-CENELEC Management Centre in Brussels on 18 and 19 June. The CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Smart Grid International Plenary was attended by delegations from Brazil, China, Japan, Korea and the USA, as well as representatives of the European Commission (DG Energy) and international organisations including the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Smart Grids Action Network (ISGAN), the International Telecommunication Union Standardization Sector (ITU-T), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Smart Grid specialists from national standards organisations and representatives of key European industry associations and federations also took part in the two-day meeting.

Speaking in Brussels, Ralph Sporer, Chairman of the Smart Grid Coordination Group (SG-CG), said: “Standards are essential to help Smart Grids achieve their potential. We are confident that collaboration on standardization work in this important and innovative sector will contribute to achieving energy policy targets in Europe and around the world.”

Elena Santiago Cid, Director General of CEN and CENELEC, said: “This has been a very successful event, with the participation of some 100 delegates from across Europe and around the world. As European Standards Organisations, we will continue to work with our international partners and share knowledge regarding Smart Grid technologies, which are essential for enabling the shift towards a cleaner, greener and more sustainable economy.”

Luis Jorge Romero, Director General of ETSI, said: “Smart Grids demonstrate that applying ICT techniques to existing industries can lead to transformational change for the benefit of society. The ESOs are ready to develop the ICT standards that are needed to enable similar changes in other industries.”

- ENDS -



The three European Standards Organisations (ESOs) are: CEN (European Committee for Standardization), CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) and ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute).

The ESOs have been tasked by the European Commission (under standardization mandate M/490 – published on 1 March 2011 and accepted in June 2011)1 to deliver the following:

1. A technical reference architecture to represent the functional information data flows between the main domains and integrate many system and subsystem architectures.

2. A set of consistent standards to support the information exchange (communication protocols and data models) and the integration of all operators within the system.

3. Sustainable standardization processes and collaborative tools to enable stakeholder interaction, while also ensuring interoperability, security and privacy, etc.

Furthermore, the ESOs have also been asked to investigate standards for information security and data privacy encompassing harmonised high level requirements2.

The European Commission‟s policy in this area is set out in the communication „Smart Grids: from innovation to deployment‟ (published in April 2011)3. According to the Commission, smart electricity grids should reduce CO2 emissions by 9% and household energy consumption by 10%. They will also facilitate the expansion of renewable energy including de-centralised micro-generation of electricity using solar panels (photovoltaic) and wind turbines. Smart grids therefore have a crucial role to play in enabling the EU to reach the targets of its integrated energy and climate change policy (adopted in December 2008)4.

The ESOs have set up a Smart Grid Coordination Group (SG-CG) with four working groups focusing on the main elements of the mandate. In accordance with the calendar agreed with the European Commission, the SG-CG is aiming to present a first set of standards for smart grids, as well as a report covering data security and privacy issues, by the end of 2012.

The work on smart grids (under mandate M/490) is being coordinated with other standardization work that is currently underway in relation to smart meters and electric vehicles (under mandates M/441 and M/468 respectively) so as to ensure a coherent framework5. The SG-CG is also collaborating with several international and regional standards organisations, with the aim of working towards common international standards for smart grids.

1. Standardization mandate M/490 for Smart Grids, issued on 1 March 2011

2. as proposed by the European Commission‟s Smart Grid Task Force

3. Communication „Smart Grids: from innovation to deployment‟ [COM(2011)202]

4. The EU adopted an integrated energy and climate change policy in December 2008, including ambitious targets to be met by 2020. These so-called “20-20-20” targets refer to:

– cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% (or 30% with international agreement)

– reducing energy consumption by 20% through increased energy efficiency

– developing renewable sources so they can meet 20% of total energy needs

5. For more information on standardization activities related to Smart Grids, please see:

CEN (European Committee for Standardization) and CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) are officially recognised organisations responsible for developing and defining standards at European level. These standards set out specifications and procedures in relation to a wide range of products and services.

The members of CEN and CENELEC are the National Standards Bodies and National Electrotechnical Committees of 33* European countries including all of the EU member states plus 3 EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) and 3 EU candidate countries (Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*). European Standards (ENs) approved by CEN and CENELEC are accepted and recognised in all of these countries.

CEN and CENELEC also work to promote the international harmonisation of standards in the framework of technical cooperation agreements with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).

* as from 1 July 2012

For more information please see:

ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, converged, aeronautical, broadcast and internet technologies and is officially recognised by the European Union as a European Standards Organisation.

ETSI is an independent, not-for-profit association whose more than 700 member companies and organisations, drawn from 62 countries across 5 continents worldwide, determine its work programme and participate directly in its work.

For further information, please visit:

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