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Posted : 2014-10-27 16:45
Updated : 2014-10-27 19:34

KEPCO set to export smart grid technologies

Cho Hwan-eik, center, KEPCO president, and Won Hee-ryong, third from right in the front row, governor of Jeju Self-Governing Province, listen to a presentation about smart grid technologies at the International Convention Center on Jeju, Monday. / Courtesy of KEPCO

By Park Si-soo

JEJU ISLAND ㅡ The state-run power company KEPCO is trying to develop its smart grid technologies as a new export item.

To that end, the company plans to spend $155 million between 2015 and 2017 on comprehensive tests of related technologies, which are believed to be helpful in reducing spending on power, and greenhouse gas emissions, while boosting energy saving and efficiency.

The company unveiled its three-stage action plan during a presentation at the Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI), Monday.

"Our goal is developing smart grids into a business model and an export item," said Hwang Woo-hyun, KEPCO vice president, during a session titled "KEPCO's strategies for smart grid and ESS" (energy storage systems).

He said KEPCO's smart grid technologies were tested on Jeju from December 2009 through May 2013 and, based on its results the company will expand the technologies' application to major mainland cities, including Seoul and Incheon, in phases by 2017. In the long run, Hwang said, KEPCO will make Korea a "smart" state when it comes to power generation, distribution and consumption.

"Smart grid technologies will be applied across the country by 2030," a KEPCO spokeswoman said. "We are trying to export the technologies to developing nations in Southeast Asia."

In September, KEPCO signed an agreement to sell its smart grid technologies to the Canadian power company PowerStream in its first export of this kind. Under the deal, the two companies will cooperate to develop a large-scale application of the technology for North America.

Kim Dae-kyeong, a senior analyst at the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning, said under the existing roadmap, Korea will be able to increase its energy efficiency by 46.7 percent by 2030. At the same time, the country might reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

"Considering these benefits, smart grid technologies will provide countries with problems in energy supply with a dramatic breakthrough," Kim said.

Martin Hauske, managing director of business consulting firm Accenture, said the global demand for smart grid is on the rise.

"New technologies are evolving rapidly and have the potential to disrupt the traditional utility business," he said. "New technologies and energy service-businesses can lower energy costs."

Citing the consultancy firm's recent survey of 85 executives at energy companies around the world, Hauske forecast that the competition among providers of smart grid technologies will intensify in the near future.

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