International Council on Large Electric Systems

The International Council on Large Electric Systems (French: Conseil International des Grands Réseaux Électriques, CIGRÉ) is a global nonprofit organization in the field of high voltage electricity. It was founded in Paris, France in 1921.[1] The scope of its activities include the technical and economical aspects of the electrical grid, as well as the environmental and regulatory aspects.

Cigre International logo.jpeg
TypeProfessional Organization
FocusAll aspects of electric power generation, transmission and distribution
Area served
MethodConferences, Tutorials, Publications
1,137 Collective and 6,360 Individual
Key people
Rob Stephen, President; Philippe Adam, Secretary General; Mark Waldron, Technical Council Chair

More specifically, the objectives of CIGRÉ 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.

CIGRÉ 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 CIGRÉ are divided into sixteen study committees(SC) :

  • 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, CIGRÉ has (as of 2012) 57 National Committees (NC) 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 CIGRÉ a global footprint.[2] In 2014 the Turkish National Committee was established.


CIGRÉ 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 CIGRÉ session took place on 21–28 November 1921 at 7 Rue de Madrid, Paris[1] and was attended by 231 high voltage engineers and technicians.

The 46th CIGRÉ session was held at the Palais des congrès de Paris on 21–26 August 2016. 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, CIGRÉ organises several other types of conference 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 CIGRÉ 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).

CIGRÉ publishes a bimonthly magazine called Electra which contains executive summaries of recently published Technical Brochures, as well as selected scientific papers and invited papers.

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].


  1. ^ a b The History of CIGRÉ – A key player in the development of electric power systems since 1921. Paris: CIGRÉ. ISBN 978 2 85873 166 4.
  2. ^ The History of CIGRÉ - Creation and Development of National Committees since the 1920s. Paris: CIGRÉ. 2013. p. 4. ISBN 978 2 85873 221 0.

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