SGCC, winning IPTO bidder, gearing up for massive global energy project

Main power utility PPC’s agreement to sell 24 percent of subsidiary firm IPTO, the power grid operator to SGCC, the State Grid Corporation of China, through its wholly owned subsidiary firm State Grid International Development, could well lead to global prospects well beyond PPC’s intention to penetrate Balkan and other neighboring markets.

PPC’s association with SGCC, the world’s biggest player in international electricity markets, promises to bring the utility in touch, even if indirectly, with the Chinese energy giant’s interest in a Global Energy Interconnection (GEI), a plan entailing the transfer of power production through long-distance interconenctions covering the entire world. For example, power output generated at solar power parks along the equator and at wind-energy parks in the Arctic region, around the North Pole, may be supplied to meet demand in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Though this plan may appear somewhat futuristic, it is being approached as a realistic objective project by SGCC.

The project’s development has been divided into three stages. The first, a preliminary stage entailing the promotion of eco-friendly energy use, is planned to run until 2020. A target of 2030 has been set for the second stage, concerning the completion of interconnection infrastructure and major energy hubs. The aim is for investors to have completed this ambitious project’s third and final stage, entailing the development of major-scale solar facilities along the equator and wind energy parks in the Arctic region, by 2050.

If compeleted, the project is expected to cover 80 percent of global power needs through eco-friendly electricity production. SGCC’s president and CEO Liu Zhenya (photo), has noted that the 2050 completion target and estimated coverage of global electricity needs are both realistic objectives.

According to SGCC estimates, the GEI plan will require roughly 50 trillion dollars to set up. The Chinese giant is currently exploring the prospect of teaming up with co-investors. These include Softbank, Korea Electric Power and Rosetti PJS. The plan has already been presented at the World Economic Forum. SGCC has set up a company named GEIDCO (Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization) to focus on the ambitious project.

Returning to the agreement between PPC and the SGCC subsidiary for IPTO’s 24 percent, it was endorsed yesterday by the Greek utility’s board but still needs to be approved by PPC shareholders at an extraordinary shareholders meeting scheduled for November 24.