The state-owned electric transmission company in China, State Grid, has moved forward with establishing a set of industry rules, standards and favored technologies for the growing smart grid industry in China. But the aggressive move to establish industry standards has competitors in the nascent smart grid sector a bit concerned.
The 8-year-old transmission giant took liberties to establish norms across 22 criteria of smart grid technology after announcing it would invest 25 billion yuan in 228 smart grid pilot projects. By taking the lead role in formulating the smart grid standards, State Grid has positioned itself to maintain leadership in smart grid construction in China -- a move that is worrisome for other smart grid players, as Shai Oster explains in the Wall Street Journal:
"State Grid’s moves are especially worrying for foreign companies such as General Electric Co., Siemens AG and others who see smart grid as a potentially huge and lucrative market. China is expected to spend $60 billion to $100 billion in the next decade on smart grid upgrades. Where Chinese suppliers of conventional power equipment can sell cheaply, foreign players think they have an edge on cutting-edge technology."
But Hu Zhaoguang, deputy director of State Grid's energy research institute said the smart grid moves will play an important part of China's efforts to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. And many would argue that a streamlined regulatory landscape would facilitate progress toward those goals.
"Such projects fit well with the country's two main targets in the energy and environment field, which are to increase the proportion of non-fossil energy use to 15 percent of primary energy consumption in 2020, and to reduce carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent in 2020 from the 2005 level."
State Grid ranked 15th on Fortune's Global 500 in 2009.
Photo credit: faungg via flickr