The global electric power transmission network is set to expand from 3.4 million miles of high-voltage transmission lines in 2014 to 4.2 million miles by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3 percent, according to a report by ReportsnReports.com.
Of the top 10 countries forecast to have the highest transmission line additions between 2014 and 2020, China will account for the largest share, with 48 percent. India and Brazil will follow, with 21.6 percent and 4.9 percent shares, respectively.
The key reasons behind increasing transmission line lengths include a rising electrification ratio, the need for new electricity infrastructure and power generation capacity growth. China will increase its transmission lines from more than 714,500 miles to 990,000 miles over the forecast period, at a CAGR of 6 percent.
This will be driven primarily by the country's effort to connect supply and demand centers, which are spread across different regions. China's power generation capacity is expected to increase by 51 percent between 2014 and 2020, from 1,371 GW to 2,073 GW.
The country will add 299 GW of thermal, 145 GW of hydro and 125 GW of wind power capacity during the period. The increase in power capacity will also contribute to future transmission line additions. During the 2009-2014 period, China's electricity losses from transmission and distribution (T&D) totaled 6 percent.
Due to its energy resources being located far from the southern and eastern load centers, and as a logical choice for keeping T&D losses low over long distances, the country decided to invest in ultra-high voltage transmission, with construction due for completion this year.
However, the analyst adds that connectivity is a major obstacle for T&D projects in China and the grid is fragmented into six regional clusters. The country is therefore looking to develop wide-ranging, cross-regional interconnections and is moving towards a nationwide, interconnected grid system. Major countries include China, India, Germany, U.K., U.S., Brazil, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.