China and the smart grid

Smartgrid, intelligrid, futuregrid, there seems to be no boundary to naming the next generation of electrivity grids. No limit on the amount spent either: China is preparing to invest USD 7.3 billion in smart grid technology – more than on power generation – in 2010. Even if the investment comes as a fiscal stimulus, it may propel China on the course of technological innovation in yet another sector.

Akin to telecommunications where wireless has bypassed wireline in many developing countries, China will leapfrog the current generation of electricity grids and go directly “smart” for new infrastructures – the plan is to have a smart grid operational at the national level by 2020.

Re-designing an entire electricity network comes with an incredible number of challenges but, like in telecommunications, it will give China the opportunity to re-think technology [almost] from scratch. Get ready for another war on standards…