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China on course to build world’s most advanced grid by 2020, says research report

Zpryme research says smart grid development in China won’t slow down for next five years, as SGCC topped 300 projects in 2012 and allocates $48bn for grid investment this year

Research company Zpryme has said the SGCC surpassed 300 smart grid projects in 2012

China is on course to build the world's most advanced grid by 2020, a research report has said. Developments from the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) over the last year will see the BRIC country lead the world in smart grid technology, according to a report from Zpryme Research and Consulting.

The research company has said in 2012 the SGCC surpassed 300 million customers, USD 300bn in revenue, and 300 smart grid projects. It said the SGCC has allocated another USD 48bn for power grid investment in 2013. Zpryme said this signals the cooperation's determination to "build and maintain a power grid that can help China become the world's largest economy by 2020".

Zpryme said the Communist Party in China (CPC) in early March completed its once-in-a-decade leadership transition. This was before China's President Xi Jinping took power as Chairman of the CPC in November 2012. It said the smart grid community has been questioning, examining and assessing – in an effort to unlock actionable insight into how this rare hand-over of power will affect China's economic policy and what impact, if any, it may have on smart grid investments.

But Zpryme said that smart grid development in the country is expected to continue and not slow down for the next five years. Political changes in the country may even see developments speed up.

"Any slowdown in grid construction or smart grid investment plans or implementation is unlikely to occur in the short to medium term," the company said. "One can be cautiously optimistic that the status quo, such as high levels of investment and modernisation of the grid, will likely continue for the next two to five years at least, and possibly even speed up due to Mr. Xi's strong belief in reform and his political and negotiating skill in building consensus."

The news from Zpryme follows other research into the smart grids sector this year. This includes a report from Pike Research, which said in March 2013 the market for smart grid technologies will grow from USD 33bn annually to USD 73bn by the end of 2020, totalling USD 494bn in cumulative revenue over the period.