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Missing the Bear: Smart Grid spending in perspective: US & China

I like to have my data with a bit of perspective don’t you? (& for now I’ll leave aside the necessary discussion we need to have about this US versus them nonsense.)

I have no idea if this is the right way to compare smart grid spending. I know very little about energy technology and infrastructure. An important consideration is that China, presumably, has a longer way to go in terms of its infrastructure improvement than the US.

Some things I'm not sure of:
Is it indeed more expensive to upgrade an old power grid than to build anew?
Is it safe to assume that there's more energy infrastructure in place already in an urban area than a rural area? And is it more easily (i.e. less expensive) upgradeable in an urban area than rural area?

How about it, out there? I really want to learn so please leave a comment!

Figures for Btu projected consumption

US kWh consumed 2008
Note: US electricity consumption down year on year in 2009, 3.6%, so I was being generous here.

China kWh consumed 2009
I used Chinese government figures because presumably, that’s what they are calculating their spending on, so I don’t want to get into a discussion about how Chinese government figures are exaggerated/inflated/false.

rural figures China

rural figures US (assumes 20% in 2000, generalized to 2008 estimate)

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