China smart grid initiative launched


Beijing, China — (METERING.COM) — November 19, 2008 – The China Smart Grid Cooperative aimed at bringing together smart grid experts from across the world to work closely with China’s two utilities and key influencers to jointly define a smart grid for the country has been launched by the Joint US-China Cooperation for Clean Energy (JUCCCE).

The initial goals of the Cooperative are to stimulate interest in smart grid planning in China with key Chinese leaders, to create a feasibility study of the financial, policy and technical requirements of a smart grid in China, and to catalyze a regional smart grid pilot.

The Cooperative will also investigate how a smart grid rollout in China will be different from elsewhere, and what resources are available to help accelerate the implementation.

Hu Xuehao of the China Electric Power Research Institute points out that there are many differences between China and the West. “In western countries the emphasis is on the distribution grid, while in China the current emphasis is on the transmission grid. In the U.S., Europe and Japan, solar panels are installed on rooftops, while in China solar farms will be installed mainly in desert areas,” Xuehao says.

China also has the potential to be at the forefront of smart grid technology developments, comments Jim Rogers, chairman of Duke Energy and JUCCCE Honorary Committee member. “The scale at which China is deploying means that China can single-handedly help set the worldwide smart grid communications standard early on.”

ML Chan, China executive director of the Smart Grid Cooperative, adds that China represents one of the largest revenue opportunities in the world for smart grid technology and service companies. “The current financial crisis has companies scrambling to stay afloat and international vendors can expect to benefit greatly if China’s utilities put the smart grid on their agenda,” says Chan.

The first JUCCCE Smart Grid Cooperative meeting was held on November 12 following the JUCCCE China Energy Forum in Beijing.

The non profit organization has also opened a San Francisco office, which is headed by Leslie Katz, a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and regional vice president of regulatory affairs at Sempra Energy.

The development of a smart transmission grid in China is also expected to be given a boost from the recent US$586 billion stimulus plan approved by the Chinese government. While the plan is aimed at spurring economic growth through large scale investment in low income housing, water, rural infrastructure and electricity, it is also expected to lead to increased investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency as well as other energy conservation measures, including a smart grid.