Quality Standards for Energy Access: How International Standards can Support Off-Grid Electrification in Developing Countries (Webinar)

11 May 2016

The Clean Energy Solutions Center, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation’s Energy Access Practitioner Network and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), hosted this webinar on the role of international electrotechical standards to facilitate rural electrification programs in developing and newly industrialized countries.

The webinar introduced the IEC system approach to evaluate the status of standardization in low voltage direct current (LVDC) applications as well as non-conventional distribution networks (i.e., mini-grids/micro-grids). Participants discussed how such standards can be used to facilitate rural electrification programs in developing countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Yasemin Erboy Ruff, Officer, Energy and Climate, United Nations Foundation will provide an overview of the UN Foundation’s work on scaling energy access in developing countries through its 2,000+ member strong Energy Access Practitioner Network.
  • Vimal Mahendru, President, Legrand – India and Convener of the IEC System Evaluation Group for LVDC Applications, Distribution and Safety for use in Developed and Developing Economies (SEG 4), will present the relevance of LVDC for mini-grids/micro-grids for electricity access.
  • Pierre Sebellin, IEC Systems Technical Officer and Secretary of the System Evaluation Group (SEG 6) on non-conventional Distribution Networks and Microgrids, will show the relevance of the "Systems Approach" in the standardization work of the IEC and in particular in the field of microgrids.
  • Paul Johnson, Executive Secretary, African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission (AFSEC), will showcase AFSEC’s efforts to support and catalyze energy access across Africa.
  • Dr. Arne Jacobson, Director of the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University, technical lead for the Lighting Global Quality Assurance program, and an active member of IEC Technical Committee 82 (photovoltaics), will present about Lighting Global and IEC's work to support the development of the off-grid solar market through the management and implementation of quality standards.

The presentations will be followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience.


Yasemin Erboy RuffYasemin Erboy Ruff, Officer, Energy and Climate, UN Foundation

Yasemin Erboy Ruff is an Officer with the UN Foundation's Energy and Climate team, primarily assisting in coordinating efforts to scale up energy access in developing countries. She manages the day-to-day operational coordination and strategic planning of the UN Foundation’s Energy Access Practitioner Network, and she serves as the Energy and Climate team's focal point for research and writing support on materials related to the energy access issue area. Prior to joining the UN Foundation, Yasemin majored in environmental science at Columbia University and gained her master's degree in environmental management at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, with a focus on climate change and resource management.

Vimal MahendruVimal Mahendru, President, Legrand-India

Mr. Mahendru is the President of Legrand-India, a subsidiary of the French multinational Legrand. An engineer with 27 years of experience in manufacturing, supply chain, finance and international business, he assumed this role in 2010. Mr. Mahendru is a prominent member of the Indian electrical equipment industry and was President of the industry association, IEEMA, in 2010 and 2011. He is on several committees of the Government of India, including of the Bureau of Indian Standards, where he chairs the committee for standards development and maintenance for LT and HT fuses. Since January 2015, Mr. Mahendru has been an elected member of the IEC Standardization Management Board (SMB) for a period of three years. Simultaneously, he is the Convenor of the IEC SEG 4 for LVDC (Low Voltage Direct Current). Mr. Mahendru has been appointed IEC Ambassador for a two-year term (2016-2017) to represent the interests of the IEC in the sector of LVDC and rural electrification.

Pierre SebellinPierre Sebellin, IEC

Pierre Sebellin works for the IEC Central Office in Geneva. He is responsible for setting up and promoting the development of the systems approach for the standardization work of the IEC. He also acts as secretary for the systems groups currently operating in the IEC: SEG 4 on Low Voltage DC, SEG 6 on Microgrids, SyC AAL on Active Assisted Living, SyC Smart Cities. He is also Secretary of the Systems Resource Group developing Systems methodologies. He has an engineering background in automation, and prior to joining the IEC, he worked over 25 years for industry, holding management positions in marketing and R&D.

Paul JohnsonPaul Johnson, Executive Secretary, African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission

Engineer Paul Johnson holds the position of Executive Secretary of the African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission (AFSEC) and also currently supports the South African National Committee of the IEC as National Committee Secretary, employed by the South African Bureau of Standards. His past experience includes some 32 years with the South African National Electricity Company, Eskom in various roles, in particular in the field of technology standardization.

Arne JacobsonArne Jacobson, Director, Schatz Energy Research Center

Dr. Arne Jacobson is Director of the Schatz Energy Research Center and a Professor in the Environmental Resources Engineering department at Humboldt State University. Dr. Jacobson serves as the technical lead for product quality assurance for Lighting Global, which is associated with the Lighting Africa and Lighting Asia programs. He is also an active member of Technical Committee 82 (Photovoltaics) of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Dr. Jacobson has a Ph.D. from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, a master’s degree focused on Environmental Resources Engineering (Humboldt State University), and a bachelor’s degree in physics (Earlham College). His areas of research and work interest include renewable energy technologies, energy access in off-grid areas, and clean energy deployment policy. He has extensive international work experience in Africa, South Asia and Latin America.