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China Recruits US Tech Giants to Develop Smart Grid

Posted Jun 01 2009 10:11pm

As the race toward energy efficiency and a lower-carbon economy intensifies, China is positioning itself as a global leader in smart grid development and implementation.

The developing country has initiated a monumental smart grid project, and will reportedly tap the likes of Intel, GE, and Cisco. Intel recently announced a three-year deal  with the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), which is looking for ways to incorporate Intel’s embedded chips technologies into SGCC’s transmission equipment. GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt visited SGCC in Beijing last month, where he unofficially announced collaboration between GE and SGCC on smart gried development.

Major corporate collaborations such as these are a must if China hopes to adhere to its aggressive production timeline — all of China’s major generators and substations are to be equipped with smart sensors by 2012; the full completion of China’s smart grid is scheduled for 2020.

In the US, no such timeline currently exists. However, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is currently developing a “standards roadmap” (which will likely include some form of a timetable) to be released this September.

GE and Cisco last month announced a $200 million “ Energy Smart Miami ” smart grid project. For the project, which seeks to develop a municipal smart grid in Miami to serve as a blueprint for other US cities, GE will provide smart meters while Cisco will develop a secure network that centrally connects all the nodes of the power grid.

An interesting question: Could companies like GE and Cisco develop these technologies in the US and then sell them to China?

Grant Draper, President of FD Element

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