China beefs up its smart grid
Echelon Corp, which is based in the Silicon Valley, announced a partnership on Wednesday with China Holley Metering Ltd to provide smart metering products for the Chinese market.
Echelon, which designs networks to connect electronic devices, currently has 35 million meters installed throughout households in Europe. It has international offices in China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
This would be Echelon''s first foray into the smart grid market in China, although the company has been working with Guangzhou-based Rongwen to supply street lighting control systems in various Chinese cities to help reduce energy consumption.
Holley, headquartered in Hangzhou, is currently the biggest meter manufacturer in China. It supplies about 10 million smart meters a year to the State Grid Corp of China and China Southern Power Grid Co.
Energy consumption in China is expected to double over the next decade. According to Echelon, the company''s technologies can help users save 20 percent or more on their energy usage.
The State Grid, China''s largest power-grid company, installed smart meters for 45 million users in 2010. It now has 70 million smart meter users.
The Chinese government plans to spend about $100 billion on smart grids over the next 10 years as part of an overall power infrastructure overhaul.
China overall energy goal is to connect 80 million households to the smart grid by 2015. Zpryme Research & Consulting predicts that the value of China''s smart grid market will increase from $22.3 billion in 2011 to $61.4 billion in 2015, a jump of 29.1 percent over five years.
Global companies such as General Electric (GE), Siemens and IBM are positioning themselves in China''s smart grid market through joint ventures and domestic firm partnerships, according to Zpryme. Chinese smart-grid companies will also expand overseas as their technologies become increasingly more competitive.
Echelon representatives said this will be a "valuable deal" to both companies.
"China is investing very aggressively in the smart grid market. By partnering with Holley, we will bring our advanced technology to serve the smart grid market in China better and help save energy for the country as a whole. Holley has an excellent relationship with the State Grid and Southern Power Grid, so we won''t expect any challenges in our venture," said Echelon President and CEO Ron Sege.
With Echelon''s technology, smart metering products will be manufactured to meet China''s smart grid standards. The products will be launched in the middle of next year to be marketed under Holley''s brand name.
Sege, who joined Echelon about nine months ago, said it was his relationship with people in China that got the company this project.
Prior to Echelon, Sege was president and chief operating officer at 3Com Corp. Through a joint venture with Huawei, China''s largest telecom equipment maker, Sege was introduced to Holley through his business contacts.
(Source from China Daily)