Smart grid in China

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China is the world's largest consumer of electricity, and Chinese electricity demand rapidly increased during the first decade of the 21st century. It is expected to double over the next decade and triple by 2035. In 2010, 70 percent of China's electricity generation came from coal-fired power plants, but now the Chinese government is investing heavily in renewable energy technologies. Ultimately, China strives to dominate the clean energy technology market abroad. As of 2012, 17 percent of China's electricity generation comes from renewable sources, and their latest goal is to increase renewable energy to 9.5 percent of overall consumption by 2015. To implement China's new clean energy capacity into the national power grid requires power grid infrastructure upgrades and ultimately, a smart grid.[2]

Different from a conventional power grid, a smart grid is an interconnected system of information and communication technologies and electricity generation, transmission, distribution, and end-use technologies that maintains electricity delivery system reliability and stability. Additionally, smart grid technology allows consumers to manage their power usage and make choices for economically efficient products and services.


Electricity production in China till 2005

The Chinese government has enacted a plan to develop smart grid technology. China's national utility, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), announced plans to invest $250 billion in electric power infrastructure upgrades over the next five years, of which $45 billion is earmarked for smart grid technologies. Another $240 billion between 2016 and 2020 will be added to complete the smart grid project. Ultimately, the goal of the Chinese government is to build a strong national smart grid capable of transmitting power from conventional and renewable energy sources. It is expected that a smart grid would not only improve energy efficiency but also reduce carbon emissions.[3]

SGCC (State Grid Cooperation of China) three phases 5-year plan of smart grid[edit]

2009–2010 –Phase 1 – Planning and Pilot Projects Phase[edit]

• Set technical and management standards

• Develop technology and equipment

• Set development plans and initiate pilot projects

• Specifically, in 2010, China plans to start construction on the "Two Vertical, Two Horizontal" plan and reach interregional transmission capability of 12.9 GW by the end of the year.

2011–2015– Phase 2 – Comprehensive Construction Phase[edit]

• Construct UHV grid and urban-rural distribution grid

• Construct smart grid operation/control and interactive service system

• Key technological breakthroughs and their applications

• By 2015, UHV and other intra-regional transmission capacity will be 240 GW. Distribution and power provision will reach a reliability rate of 99.915% or higher in the cities and 99.73% or higher in rural areas. Smart meters will be in widespread use and EV charging stations will have been deployed in numbers that will satisfy demand

2016–2020– Phase 3 – Leadership Phase[edit]

• Complete a strong, smart grid

• Become world leaders in management, technology and equipment

• By 2020, UHV and other intra-regional transmission capacity will reach 400 GW, enough to connect all planned coal, hydro, nuclear and wind power to areas with high demand


Smart meters[edit]

Liander Smart Meter

During 2011 SGCC took bids for 44 million smart meter units. In total, 65 companies received bids for smart meters from SGCC. The total smart meter market in China is estimated to be 330 million smart meter units worth approximately US$7.7 billion. By 2011, SGCC had deployed 45 million smart meter units. All SGCC users are expected to be equipped with smart meters by 2014.[4]

Top 10 smart meter bid winners in the first four biddings of SGCC, 2011[1][edit]

  1. Jiangsu Linyang Electronics Co., Ltd 6.48%
  2. Waision Group Holdings Limited 6.07%
  3. Shenzhen Clou Electronics Co., Ltd. 5.95%
  4. Nigbo Sanxing Electric Co., Ltd. 5.54%
  5. Holley Metering Limited 4.14%
  6. Ningxia LGG Instrument Co., Ltd. 3.89%
  7. Hangzhou Hexing Electrical Co., Ltd. 3.85%
  8. Shenzhen Haoningda Meters Co., Ltd. 3.70%
  9. Shenzhen Kaifa Technology Co., Ltd. 3.63%
  10. Shenzhen Techrise Electronics Co., Ltd. 3.12%

Battery energy storage station[edit]

In December 2011 construction on battery energy storage station residing in Zhangbei, Hebei Province was completed by BYD and SGCC. The storage station is capable of storing 36 MWh of energy in a series of lithium iron-phosphate batteries approximately the size of a football field. Designed to be implemented in conjunction with a 140 MW expansion of renewable energy (solar and wind), this project is worth over US$500 million.[5][6]

Digital substations[edit]

The first digital substation was built in China in 2006. By 2009 China had implemented more than 70 digital substations.[7] The implementation of digital substations is critical to the smart grid because of it allows for processing of energy generated from conventional and renewable sources, protects the grid from attack, and communicates with the rest of the grid.

Flexible power transmission[edit]

Flexible power transmission is important to the development and expansion of China's power grid due to the distance between energy resources and load. In order for flexible power transmission to be achieved by the Chinese smart grid, substantial infrastructure upgrades must be made to the existing power grid. This is primarily being done by upgrading the existing power grid to a system capable of transmitting ultra high voltage AC and ultra high voltage DC power. Over half of China's investment in flexible power transmission is in the form of static VAR compensators or SVCs. In 2009, SGCC announced its plan to invest approximately 88 billion dollars in ultra high voltage equipment.[7]

Electric vehicle charging equipment[edit]

In August 2009 SGCC established its first commercially available electric vehicle charging station, the Caoxi Electrical Vehicle Charging Station. As of 2010, 76 electric vehicle charging stations have been build in 41 Chinese cities. Continued investment in electric car infrastructure reflects the country's goal of having 500,000 electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles on the road by 2015 and 5 million by 2020,.[7][8]

Charging Stations by City as of 2010[9]
City Charging Stations City Charging Stations
Shanghai 6 Changchung 1
Beijing 5 Hangzhou 1
Tianjin 5 Suzhou 1
Jinan 5 Wuxi 1
Nanjing 5 Xiamen 1
Dalian 4 Changsha 1
Hefei 4 Zhengzhou 1
Xi'an 4 Guangzhou 1
Harbin 3 Chongqing 1
Chengdu 3 Kunming 1
Nanchang 2 Lanzhou 1
Wuhan 2 Taiyuan 1
Shenzhen 2 Yinchuan 1

Deployment and deployment attempts[edit]

Pilot programs[edit]

Currently China has an agreement with the US to deploy its first smart-grid pilot project. Honeywell corporation was selected in 2011 to develop and implement the technology and expertise to improve energy use in commercial buildings. The project is part of a grant agreement between the State Grid Electric Power Research Institute (SGEPRI), a subsidiary of State Grid Corporation of China, and the US Trade and Development Agency. According to a[10] press release, "China's goals for a smarter electrical grid is to manage the growing electricity demand side and to enhance electrical infrastructure's reliability and efficiency by giving utility customers ways to better manage their electricity use and cost, increasing their energy efficiency and supporting the integration of renewable energy sources"[10] A better connection between residential and industrial electricity customers and grid operators needs technologies to measure day-to-day energy use and to broadcast when the energy use spikes and outpaces the ability to generate power. Implementation of this pilot project will give State Grid Corporation of China exposure to the latest technologies and perspective on how to realize the benefits of the smart grid. China is the World's largest Transmission and Distribution market with capital expenditures on power lines growing at an annual rate of 15 to 20 percent until 2018.[11] With this level of investment, US companies can test and commercialize technology in China at a faster and larger scale than in other parts of the World, including developed countries.

Upcoming deployments[edit]

According to the Chinese authorities, a strong and robust smart grid market would total $20 billion annually by 2015. Rolling out ultra-high voltage (UHV) transmission systems would account for more than 60% of that market, while smart meters and wind power connectivity could reach $2 billion and $800 million annually respectively. According to State Grid Corporation of China, the period 2011–15 is going to be dedicated to the promotion of smart grid construction. 2011 has been devoted to pilot implementation, and in 2012 equipment market will raise.


  1. ^ a b "China Smart Meter Industry Report, 2011–2012". Research in China. 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "]China's Energy Consumption Rises the Wall Street Journal". Wall Street Journal. 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "China Pours Money into Smart Grid Technology". Center for American Progress. 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "China's smart meter market potential – 330m meters, $7.7bn". Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Massive battery energy storage station kicks off in China". Gigaom. 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "China & BYD Launch Largest Battery Energy Storage Station in World". 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "Marketing Information". smart grid tec – china. 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "China's largest electric car charging station opens in Beijing". xinhuannet. 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012. 
  9. ^ "China Electric Vehicle Charging Station Market Report,2010". Research in China. 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  10. ^ a b "Honeywell And TEDA Launch China's First Demand Response Project Under United States-China Smart Grid Cooperative.". 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Can the smart grid live up to its expectations?". Mckinsey news. 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2012.