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From Jeju to West: South Korea exports smart grid tech

Posted: 31 Oct 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Jeju Island? smart grid? South Korea?

South Korea is a manufacturing powerhouse, home to multinational giants including Samsung, LG and Hyundai. Despite being geographically squeezed between its powerful neighbours, Japan and China, the country has thrived in industries such as electronics and automotive. But it does not stop there, as South Korea now appears to be seeking the upper hand in smart grid technologies.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) said it plans to export technologies that help boost energy efficiency, while reducing carbon footprint and spending on power, reported Korea Times. It has earmarked some $155 million for the testing of the said technologies on the country's smart grid test bed, Jeju Island, between 2015 and 2017.

Speaking at a session, KEPCO VP Hwang Woo-hyun said their goal is to develop smart grids into a business model and an export item. The company eyes developing nations in Southeast Asia as its target market.

KEPCO, however, reportedly overlooked the region and raced ahead to the West, making its first export deal with Canadian power company PowerStream in September. The two companies will work together on a large-scale application of the technology for North America.

Making the smart count

Other than the commercialisation and industrial exports, KEPCO's smart grid technologies will be deployed locally, in phasesfirst in major cities including Seoul and Incheon by 2017, then across the country by 2030.

This will be a huge leap forward in making South Korea a smart state in relation to power generation, distribution and consumption, according to Hwang.

[See also: Smart cities? Singapore plans to become a smart nation]

The idea of making the power system smarter was first introduced in 2009. The government pinpointed smart grid development as one of several directions for achieving low carbon green growth.

A year after, the Korean Smart Grid Roadmap 2030 was drafted. It cites several milestones including building a smart grid test bed by 2012, expanding into metropolitan areas by 2020, and completing the nationwide power grid by 2030.

South Korea smart grid vision

South Korea's vision for the smart grid. (Source: Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Korea Smart Grid Institute)

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