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Leading New Zealand’s voice with IEC National Committee President Peter Berry

IEC National Committee President Peter Berry loves a challenge. Global decarbonisation, emerging technologies, and challenging the next generation to step up are on his agenda.

Representing New Zealand on the global stage

Peter Berry, IEC NZ National Committee President

Peter Berry, IEC NZ National Committee President

Peter Berry, CEO of the Electricity Engineers’ Association (EEA) and national committee president for the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has been involved in developing international, joint Australian/New Zealand, and national standards for more than 25 years.

While the majority of us simply expect the things around us to work – from mobile phones to automatic doors – he is well aware of the importance of developing and publishing standards for electrical products to enable a safe and productive society.

‘The IEC is a not-for-profit organisation that develops and publishes state-of-the-art international standards ensuring the safety, reliability, and interoperability of all electrical and electronic products and related services,’ explains Peter.

‘Over 20,000 experts from industry, government, test and research labs, academia, and consumer groups from 173 countries collaborate to write standards that help foster innovation, facilitate global trade, and promote development.

‘The IEC has published over 10,000 standards helping make the world a safer, greener, more connected place for everyone. Given the focus on achieving international net-zero carbon targets over the next three decades, the IEC has a crucial role to play in our future. It is vital that New Zealand’s industry and government interests are represented.’

Calling the next generation of experts

‘While maintaining standards for existing systems, assets, and appliances is important, the IEC is working on some exciting standards for future electricity systems including standards that support the adoption of renewables, electric vehicles, hydrogen, smart cities, vertical farming, improved energy efficiency, and microgrids,’ says Peter.

‘We also need to champion the next generation to step up and share their expertise to keep up with the rapid rise in technology and systems advances associated with innovation and implementing cleaner, greener energy. That’s why the IEC is encouraging young people into its work.

‘Over the last ten years the national committee has supported over 20 young industry professionals to attend the Young Professional Forum at the annual IEC general meeting held all around the world. Here they can attend technical committee meetings, contribute to scoping the future focus and work of the IEC, and join the global young professionals’ network.

‘Supporting the next generation of industry professionals by giving them access to the best technical experts is not only great for their personal growth, but it is an invaluable way of ensuring New Zealand businesses stay at the leading edge of technology, safety, and standardisation work.

‘Industry, in partnership with government, needs to support the learning and capability growth of the next generation of industry and government professionals so we can continue to contribute to international standardisation for a safer and more efficient world.’

Shaping the future

‘It’s an exciting time to be in the industry,’ says Peter. ‘Technology is advancing rapidly and the challenge of meeting the decarbonisation targets we have signed up for is unprecedented. We must ensure new standards reflect the modern world and the IEC is strongly focused on attracting a more diverse workforce. Engaging with our communities and bringing different thinking to the development of standards is critical.

‘It’s important that New Zealand remains tapped into global networks such as the IEC to continue learning and delivering solutions faster, and ensuring our manufacturers are participating in international markets. Our work with the IEC helps us be active and engaged in monitoring advances that support “NZ Inc.” It works both ways – we provide our local technical expertise while also benefiting from the global pool of wisdom and knowledge out there to help our decarbonisation journey.

‘For a small country, we hit above our weight. We should never underestimate the international value of New Zealand experts. New Zealand has made significant contributions in fields such as lighting, appliances, consumer representation, and hazardous areas. We are recognised for having long-standing leadership in these areas. Fisher & Paykel and Gallagher Engineering are examples of key industry experts and organisations.

‘However, we need to identify more people who can contribute. So, if you are a subject matter leader in your field, or you know of any young emerging industry professionals with a passion for technical innovation, quality infrastructure, sustainability or safety we invite you to talk with Standards New Zealand and the IEC national committee about contributing to the international standards process.

‘I cannot vouch strongly enough for the fascinating, cutting-edge work opportunities provided by contributing to these committees. While at times it is challenging and can take time to manage different views from around the world and meet consensus, all standards are looking towards safety, sustainability, reliability, quality, and better outcomes. That’s something we can all get on board with.’

Find out more and get involved.

International Electrotechnical Commission