International Council on Large Electric Systems
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|Focus||All aspects of electric power generation, transmission and distribution|
|Method||Conferences, Tutorials, Publications|
|1,300 Collective and 8,800 Individual|
|Michel Augonnet, President; Philippe Adam, Secretary General; Marcio Szechtman, Technical Council Chair|
The International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE) is a global nonprofit organization in the field of high voltage electricity. It was founded in Paris, France in 1921. The scope of its activities include the technical and economical aspects of the electrical grid, as well as the environmental and regulatory aspects.
More specifically, the objectives of CIGRE are to:
- facilitate technical exchanges among those involved in the production, transmission, and distribution of electrical energy;
- communicate the state of the art and the technical knowledge in these fields;
- inform the decision makers and regulators in the field of high voltage electricity by means of publication in its magazine Electra or through the organization of biennial conferences, named Sessions, that take place in even years in Paris, France.
CIGRE membership is open to individuals, companies and organisations involved with any aspect of high voltage engineering. Member organisations and companies are known as collective members.
The activities of CIGRE are divided into sixteen Study Committees (SCs):
- A1 - Rotating Electrical Machines
- A2 - Transformers
- A3 - High Voltage Equipment
- B1 - Insulated Cables
- B2 - Overhead Lines
- B3 - Substations
- B4 - HVDC and Power Electronics
- B5 - Protection and Automation
- C1 - System Development and Economics
- C2 - System Operation and Control
- C3 - System Environmental Performance
- C4 - System Technical Performance
- C5 - Electricity Markets and Regulation
- C6 - Distribution Systems and Dispersed Generation
- D1 - Materials and Emerging Test Techniques
- D2 - Information Systems and Telecommunication
In addition, as of 2020, there are 61 National Committees of CIGRE (NCs), which support the Study Committees in identifying experts to participate in working groups. Beginning with the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Italy in 1923, National Committees have developed progressively around the world to give CIGRE a global footprint. In 2014 the Turkish National Committee was established.
CIGRE organises several types of conference, of which the biennial Sessions, which take place in Paris in even-numbered years, are the most important and broad-ranging. The first CIGRE session took place on 21–28 November 1921 at 7 Rue de Madrid, Paris and was attended by 231 high voltage engineers and technicians. Since then, sessions have been held every two years, except during World War II and in 2020 when there was an outbreak of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide.
The 48th CIGRE session was held in August 2020 for the first time via the internet due to restrictions on travel placed by many countries as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was therefore called an e-Session. Whereas the 47th session held at the Palais des Congrès de in Paris attracted 8500 people in total, the e-Session attracted about 1500 live attendances on each day and many offline registrations. The CIGRE Session and its Technical Exhibition bring together more than 8500 senior executives, engineers and experts from the worldwide Power Industry. The CIGRE Session provides a unique opportunity to listen to contributions from international senior executives as well as experts and specialists through official presentations, panel discussions, technical meetings and poster sessions. The Session also offers a social program to engage further discussions in a relaxed atmosphere.
In parallel of the Session, a Technical Exhibition is held in the same location on levels 1, 2 and 3. The exhibition offers the opportunity to all visitors, including CIGRE delegates, to discover new services, tools, equipment and materials as well as the most advanced technologies in the field of power systems.
In addition to the biennial sessions, CIGRE organises several other types of conferences in locations other than Paris, including:
- Symposia in odd-numbered years. These usually involve a sub-set of the study committees and concentrate on one common theme.
- Regional conferences covering a variety of subjects but for one specific country or region
- Colloquia which usually involve only one or two study committees.
The Study Committees of CIGRE appoint Working Groups of internationally recognised experts to investigate and publish the state of the art in their chosen field. The output of Working Groups is in the form of Technical Brochures. Technical Brochures are frequently used to inform and act as precursor documents for the activities of national and international Standards organizations, notably the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
CIGRE creates technical resources that are made available at www
Electra contains executive summaries of recently published Technical Brochures, as well as selected scientific papers and invited papers.
GREEN BOOKS are a repository of knowledge in a specific subject area and are useful as reference material.
The Technical Committee of CIGRE recently updated the CIGRE White Paper “Network of the Future” issued in 2011 and published in Electra (N°256). This summary paper provides CIGRE’s views on the know-how needed to manage the transition towards future energy supply systems].
List of National Committees
The principle of National Committees came about in 1931, when they were made official. The following table shows a list of National Committees of CIGRE, year they first joined and their membership numbers (as at 2019):
|National Committee||Year First Joined||Equivalent Members|
|Arab States of the Gulf||1985||200|
|Czech and Slovak Republics||1924||87|
|United States of America||1921||918|