President Park Geun-hye declared her vision for promoting the convergence energy industry, which can be defined as a combination between information and communication technology (ICT) and scientific technology, as a growth driver of the creative economy. Specifically, she said that the government would cut the electricity peak by up to one million kilowatts by 2017, while creating 15,000 new jobs and expanding the market size to 3.5 trillion won (US$3.3 billion).
The President delivered a special address on October 16 at the World Energy Congress (WEC) 2013, which is underway in the EXCO Convention Center in Daegu City. In the speech, she said that the government will take a leading role in the transition of the energy sector into a creative industry in which brilliant ideas, scientific technologies, and ICT are combined.
“Korea has developed itself from an energy-poor country to one with the most advanced energy supply systems and infrastructure in just half a century,” she said, continuing, “The energy industry is one of the fields where our creative economy paradigms can be best expressed, and thus we will share our experience and know-how with the international community in the pursuit of the goal.” The President added, “During the course, we will make a great contribution to the resolution of the energy trilemma the world is facing now.”
She emphasized that a virtuous cycle needs to be made in the industry so that the promotion of the paradigm shift and technological convergence can result in the creation of new jobs and markets. “The Korean government is planning to establish a system in which the electricity saved by way of energy storage systems and energy management systems can be traded in the power market.”
Also, she stressed the necessity of a great transformation in not just business models but also global cooperation, policy-making processes, and the administrative framework in order to properly deal with the energy trilemma of energy security, social equity and the minimization of the environmental impact. In this context, she explained that the Korean government will participate more actively in inter-energy industry cooperation among Northeast Asian countries, while making more investments in and providing greater support for the energy infrastructure of less-developed countries.
Her address at the WEC is a reconfirmation of her will to promote the growth of the energy sector based on ICT. The government has already announced its plan for energy demand management and market creation on the basis of ICT back in August this year.
According to the plan, no less than 120 billion won (US$113 million) will be invested by 2017 to supply advanced metering infrastructure and energy management systems (EMSs) to 100,000 households nationwide for the expansion of smart grids, and increase the use of EMSs for better utilization of new and renewable energy sources. At the same time, companies are going to be encouraged to make large-scale investments in the smart grid sector so as to create a market with a size of at least 3.5 trillion won (US$3.3 billion), while a variety of business models are developed so that the saved electricity can be traded on par with the power supplied by the government.
63 billion won (US$59 million) is earmarked for new ICT-based energy technology development projects during the latter half of this year. In addition, technical demands associated with ICT, examples of which include smart plugs, power consumption reduction techniques, and energy efficiency improvements, are planned to be reflected to R&D projects scheduled for next year, too.
The government and a private-public working group have recently announced the second National Energy Basic Plan, in which they advised that the current energy policy focusing on the supply side concentrates more on the demand management side. In order to do so, the maximization of energy efficiency is a must, and the goal can be met by the utilization of ICT according to the majority of power and IT industry experts.
The International Energy Agency has predicted that the global smart grid market is likely to expand its size to US$2.988 trillion by 2030, and ICT will contribute greatly to the rapid expansion. Under the circumstances, it is expected that Korea will be able to dominate the market if it does a good job in combining its energy technologies with ICT.