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Where to look for smart grid leadership? Try China

It’s always important to study smart grid pacesetters. These days, that means studying China. Especially since the smart grid market in the United States contracted a painful 33% in 2013, as you will read below. – Jesse Berst


Who’s leading the world in smart grid? Consider the five points below before you give your answer:

1.     China has zoomed past the United States to become the world’s largest energy user, according to the International Energy Agency.

2.     China spent US $4.3 billion on smart grid investments in 2013 as the U.S. market contracted 33% to $3.6 billion, according to new figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). It is the first time that China has topped North American spending in smart grid investment.

3.     According to China Daily, China’s state-owned State Grid Corp. plans to invest $586 million constructing smart grids that incorporate wind and solar energy, energy storage, energy transmission monitoring, intelligent substations and smart meters.

4.     Over the next 10 years, China is expected to spend more than $100 billion upgrading its power distribution system, as Forbes Magazine recently documented in  “China’s Smart Grid Boom.”


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Research company GlobalData recently issued a report documenting China’s leadership in the Asia-Pacific region. In fact, when it comes to transmission, China is leading the entire world with its ultra-high-voltage (UHV) technology.


GlobalData senior analyst Siddhartha Raina said: “China decided to invest in UHV transmission in 2004 due to the distant location of energy resource sites from its southern and eastern load centers. This technology was a logical choice for keeping the country’s T&D losses low over such long distances.”


The country’s fourth largest UHV project, a 1000 kv UHV alternating current transmission project, which starts from Anhui province and extends to East China, became operational last September.


According to the GlobalData report, these projects are part of the State Grid Corporation of China’s plan to invest approximately $75.5 billion in the construction of UHV power transmission lines by 2015. Both the SGCC and China Southern Power Grid Company are rapidly utilizing the UHV transmission lines to expand the country’s grid system.


Raina added: “The focus of the Chinese government clearly lies on grid modernization and improving efficiency. The government set a target to interconnect its existing grids and form an integrated synchronous national grid by the end of 2020.”

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