China to add $8 Billion in grid investment for 2008-2009

BEIJING, CHINA - Benefitting from the $584 billion investment program and the associated 10 specific measures in promoting domestic power demand announced by the State Council of China early this month, insiders expect that the total investment in the nation's power grid by the end of 2009 will include an additional $8 billion in addition to the originally planned $110 billion.

Among the 10 specific measures, two are directly related to grid investment — namely, the improvement of the rural grid in accelerating the construction of infrastructures in rural areas and the acceleration of urban grid reformation and grid construction in the quake-hit area.

Of the total previously planned investment of $110 billion for the period from 2008 to 2009, the rural grid accounted for about 5%-8%, and the urban grid of 220 kilovolts (kV) or lower accounted for about 50%. The issuance of the recent new policy will promote investment in the grid by about 10%.

Enhanced investment in rural-grid construction will help improve the rural grid, which is currently a weak point in the national grid, as rural electricity supply companies in each province are mostly incapable of increasing investment because they are often operating at a loss. Specific implementation plans will be launched by the two national grid enterprises, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGC) and China Southern Power Grid Corporation shortly.

Enhanced investment in urban grid reformation is favorable for the improvement of urban distribution grids of 220 kV or lower. Insiders believe that implementing this policy will not necessarily squeeze out investment for sections of the grid operating at 500 kV or more. On the contrary, investment in trans-regional grid and the ultra-high voltage grid will also be enhanced.

On November 8, 2008, the SGC signed an agreement with the government of Shandong province to enhance the main grid construction as well as the construction of a reliable outsourcing transmission path and the ultra-high voltage grid in Shandong province.


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