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Posted : 2011-07-06 17:24
Updated : 2011-07-06 17:24

KEPCO aims to be world top-five energy firm


Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) CEO Kim Ssang-su, sixth from right, together with company executives, vows to achieve the firm’s goal of more than doubling sales by 2020, at an event held at the firm’s head office in Seoul. / Courtesy of KEPCO

This is the second in a two-part series highlighting the past, present and future of Korea Electric Power Corp. published in time with its 50th anniversary. — ED.

By Kim Tae-gyu

Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) looks to rank among the world’s top five energy and engineering companies by more than doubling its revenue in 10 years.

The Seoul-headquartered outfit said Wednesday it is aiming to rack up 85 trillion won ($80 billion) in revenue by 2020 from 39.51 trillion won last year with more than 30 percent, or 26 trillion won, generated from various international businesses.

``In the lucrative energy and engineering domain, we strive to become one of the top five global firms by 2020 on the back of strong performances in offshore markets,’’ KEPCO spokesman Park Yong-sung said.

``To that end, we will expand our business horizons to areas such as green industries as well as adopt the most effective practices in order to improve our managerial efficiency on top of promoting a series of global businesses.’’

Before reaching the 2020 target, KEPCO established an interim goal for 2015.

``Currently, only 2 percent of our turnover is from businesses outside of Korea. We want to increase that proportion to 15 percent by 2015 and 31 percent by 2020, earning 26 trillion won,’’ Park said.

KEPCO is recognized as the foremost utility company in Asia, on the Fortune 500, Financial Times 500 and Forbes 2,000 lists.

The outfit hopes to gain prominence across the world by setting the ambitious goal of securing 25 technologies its competitors cannot imitate.

``As far as potential-laden technologies are concerned, we will keep putting research on the front burner so that we will be able to remain ahead of the curve in the future,’’ Park said.

``More specifically, we look to secure 25 technologies with which we can dominate the world markets. An example would be the design ability for nuclear reactors and associated facilities.’’

Where to earn W26 trillion?

KEPCO has drawn up a plan to make 9.8 trillion won in thermal energy, 6.2 trillion won in nuclear power generation, 1.4 trillion won in hydroelectric power, 1.5 trillion won in renewable energies and 5 trillion won in other segments on top of 2.1 trillion won in new techniques in 2020.

The former state monopoly, which was partially privatized in the late 1980s, has briskly tapped into such countries as the Philippines, China as well as those in Africa and the Middle East.

KEPCO has carried out four projects in the Philippines including the company’s first global scheme so that it presently supplies the electricity equivalent of 12 percent of the country’s overall demand.

In China where the energy market is growing at an exponential speed, KEPCO has already gained recognition as the largest foreign wind power generator.

The company, which creates around 90 percent of the electricity needed here, also has a presence in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Mexico, Lebanon, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

``Nuclear power and raw materials are other domains where we can succeed in fast growth. On top of the four reactors under construction in the UAE, we will bid to win six more contracts by 2020,’’ Park said.

``We will also double the self-sufficiency rate for such crucial raw materials as uranium and coal from today’s 30 percent to 60 percent for the stable production of electricity down the road.’’

During the waning days of 2009, KEPCO and its Korean partners, mostly contractors, forged a team to win the UAE deal under which the utility will establish four nuclear reactors in the Gulf nation by 2020.

The firm has also snapped up a host of coal and uranium mines in Australia, Indonesia, Canada and Niger.

Smart grids

KEPCO, a majority of whose shares are still held by state-run entities, focuses on futuristic technologies with the firm ready to channel 3.1 trillion won into environmentally-friendly technologies over the next decade.

It is particularly fixed on the smart grid platform, which has been gaining recognition across the globe.

``In 2030, the world’s electricity markets would be in the neighborhood of $1 trillion. Many of them will be connected to smart grids by then,’’ Park said.

``We have carried out pilot tests for a smart grid in Jeju Island in five segments. We will keep developing related technologies and eventually aim to export the lucrative applications.’’

A smart grid refers to a two-way network interconnecting electricity suppliers and consumers in a sophisticated fashion geared to tackle diminishing energy sources including fossil fuels.

The idea has been touted as one of the major ways to save the planet from the threat of greenhouse gases and the resultant global warning.

In order to check the viability of the nationwide smart grid, KEPCO is running a test bed in Jeju. The project is scheduled to finish in 2013.

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