Transmission and distribution of electricity

Changes in the way electricity is produced, stored and managed directly impact the transmission and distribution of electricity. This global transformation relies on IEC International Standards

Preparing the future

Power transmission is the  large scale movement of electricity at high voltage levels from a power plant to a substation.whereas power distribution is the conversion of high voltage electricity at substations to lower voltages that can be distributed and used by private, public, and industrial customers.
Both are facing new challenges:
  • Renewable energy sources, which are often intermittent, have to be transported over long distances and integrated into existing transmission networks.
  • Conventional power grids, which produce electricity in large quantities and deliver it in a one way direction to different users, increasingly have to integrate excess power generated locally, for example via solar panels on a house. To ensure that the grid can safely absorb such bi-directional distributed energy resources (DERs), it must add intelligence.
  • Networks need to be upgraded to improve energy efficiency, reduce environmental impact and  better handle increasing demand for power
Many IEC Technical Committees prepare the standards that are needed for the safe and efficient transmission and distribution of electricity. They concern overhead lines, cables, electrical conductors, insulators, power transformers,etc.. These standards also help utilities to roll out energy efficient technologies, from high efficiency transformers to more energy efficient conductors. Others pave the way for the digitalization and automatization of the electrical grid. 
All of these standards serve as the basis for testing and certification of components, devices, and systems. IEC runs four Conformity Assessment Systems which verify whether a product or device is built to the requirements contained in IEC Standards.

Transmission and distribution technology

With rapidly increasing global population and the industrialization of developing countries, comes soaring demand for energy – particularly electric power.

Smart grids

Smart grid technologies allow the grid to become more flexible, interactive and enable it to provide real-time feedback.

Energy efficiency

The IEC defines energy efficiency as the ratio or other quantitative relationship between an output of performance, service goods or energy, and an input of energy.

Global energy interconnection

This white paper aims to assess the worldwide needs, benefits, policies and preconditions for GEI. It examines the readiness of potential markets and identifies technical and business trends as well as hurdles.

Distributed electric power

This white paper explores the driving factors behind decentralized power generation.


This white paper considers preparation for and recovery from major electricity outages, with a focus on customer-side measures.
More information

IEC is paving the way for these new technologies by developing and publishing a wide number of standards.

Electricity generating capacity is expanding to meet growing worldwide demand.

Renewable energies represent a fast-growing percentage of electricity generation.

Nuclear power plants (NPPs) produce an important proportion of the world's electricity. 

Storing energy is becoming ever more important as our demand for electricity increases.

IEC is forging a path for this global transformation with the required international standards.

Distributed energy resources are a way of increasing energy efficiency and improving grid resilience.

Getting clean and modern electricity to those who need it the most with the help of the IEC.

One of the most important ways of helping us to save energy is by implementing energy efficiency measures.

Renewable energy generates direct current and we use direct current in our homes to power many of our devices, from LED lights to mobile phones.

IEC publications help them to meet the various technical challenges they unavoidably face moving forward.