Move to Naju is part of governmental decentralization scheme
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, third from left, and other dignitaries are set to push buttons to ignite the inaugural blast to break ground for the construction of the new headquarters of the Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) in Naju, South Jeolla Province, Wednesday. Second from left is KEPCO President and CEO Kim Joong-kyum. Fourth and fifth from left are Gwangju Mayor Kang Un-tae and Governor Park Jun-young of South Jeolla Province. / Courtesy of KEPCO
By Jung Sung-ki
Construction began Wednesday to build a new, state-of-the-art headquarters for the Korea Electricity Power Corporation (KEPCO) in Naju, South Jeolla Province. The eventual relocation will end the state-controlled power company’s 50 years of Seoul-based operations and open a new chapter for more energy-efficient, eco-friendly power generation.
The KEPCO move is part of the government’s plans to relocate about 150 public organizations in Seoul to other regions across the nation in a bid to build “innovative” cities and achieving balanced regional development. Fifteen organizations, including Korea Post and KEPCO, are to move to the Gwangju-South Jeolla region.
The corporation is expected to play a pivotal role in developing the Jeolla region into a hub of energy-related firms and organizations, as most of the nation’s power-related agencies, such as KEPCO Knowledge, Data and Network and KEPCO Plant Service & Engineering, will also move to the southwestern region.
Of the 19,000 KEPCO employees, 1,425 are to move to the new building.
“The simultaneous relocation of KEPCO and other related corporations will contribute to the development of the Gwangju-South Jeolla region by creating jobs and increasing the region’s production capacity,” Kim Joong-kyum, president and CEO of KEPCO, said in a speech at a groundbreaking ceremony. “As a result, the region will see a turning point of placing itself as a Mecca of the country’s energy industry.”
High-profile guests, including Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, Gwangju Mayor Kang Un-tae and Governor Park Jun-young of South Jeolla Province, attended the ceremony.
“I expect the new KEPCO headquarters will be completed at an early date and place itself as a key corporation in the region,” said the prime minister.
According to KEPCO officials, the new headquarters will be built on a 149,000-square-meter site of by August 2014. About 185 billion won ($165 million) is to be spent building the 33 storey building, of which 31 are above ground and 2 are basement floors.
The Naju headquarters in particular, will showcase environmentally-friendly, energy-efficient technologies, as it is to be equipped with new, renewable energy facilities having a capacity of 6,750 kilowatts with a power supply self-sufficiency rate of 42 percent, KEOCP said in a news release.
Key renewable energy facilities to be installed on the new office include a heating and cooling system through geothermal heat, a solar power generating system, a biogas facility, a mini-hydroelectric power plant, and a wind power system, it said.
Estimated yearly energy consumption would be 180 kWh per square meter, the lowest among buildings for business use here. The corporation has already received preliminary “A” certificates on the building’s energy efficiency, environmental-friendly structure, as well as intelligent systems and high-tech IT communication services, the release said.
In addition, the building is to open to local residents as part of community outreach programs.
“On top of the energy-related efforts, we will use the new headquarters as a venue for communicating with local residents by offering various services and entertainment,” a KEPCO spokesman said.
Among the key facilities are a multipurpose auditorium, a conference hall, a digital library, a “green energy park,” a child-care center and sports facilities, he said.