BEIJING - State Grid Corporation of China, China's top power distributor and main operator of the smart grid project, said that it has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with General Electric Co (GE) and the Chinese Academy of Science to jointly develop smart grid standards.
The announcement, made on the website of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, said the cooperation will focus on the standardization of technologies in electric vehicle charging, integration of large-volume energy storage systems, transducers, distributed electric resources and micro-grids.
This will be realized through technical exchanges, forums and jointly proposing national and international smart grid standards.
"State Grid wants to provide an open market to develop smart grids. Meanwhile, foreign companies will be able to get better market access by unifying different standards," said Yao Jianguo, director of the State Grid smart grid research center. The power operator also wants to raise its corporate standards to the international level, according to Yao.
The company released standards for the smart grid industry last year aimed at unifying the fledging industry and maintaining its edge in the booming market.
The first set of new rules identified 22 core criteria covering power generation, intelligent transmission, substations, distribution, utilization and dispatch for the implementation of China's smart grid project.
China currently has no national standards regarding the technical specifications of smart grid implementation, and the company hopes the government will adopt State Grid's standards as national ones.
Meanwhile, State Grid said it planned to invest a total of 500 billion yuan ($75.3 billion) over the next five years to start the construction of ultra-high-voltage projects, building up the framework of the smart grid, according to Liu Zhenya, the company's general manager.
The memorandum came after GE and State Grid said in November 2010 they would be joining forces on a number of joint ventures, part of GE's $2 billion investment in China through 2012. The joint venture between GE and Wuhan Nari, a subsidiary of State Grid, will focus on improving grid efficiency and reliability.
The venture highlights China's determination to modernize its power industry infrastructure, which will help meet aggressive renewable energy targets by delivering a smarter, more automated network.
"To support current energy needs and future growth, China is rapidly expanding its use of renewable energy sources, which rely heavily on smart grid technologies to optimize their effectiveness," said Zhu Haian, general manager of digital energy in China for GE Energy Services.
The venture with Wuhan Nari follows GE's work with the city of Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, in April last year to launch China's first government-sponsored smart grid demonstration center.
With planned investment of nearly $100 billion in smart grids and around $586 billion in power grids over the next decade, the sector offers great investment opportunities for local and international ICT companies, smart grid technology providers, utilities and clean-energy investors to help manage the nation's energy consumption, which is expected to double over the next decade.