A high-ranking South Korean government official said on September 13 that President Moon Jae-in proposed the construction of a power grid covering South Korea and Japan to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Vladivostok, Russia on September 7. It seems that the proposal for power grid integration, which assumes the use of submarine power cables, is for more economic cooperation in Northeast Asia and the South Korean government is planning on the same thing in relation to China as well.
Earlier, the Japanese Prime Minister asked the South Korean President to visit Japan within this year. The power grid connection is likely to be discussed as a major agenda item if their summit meeting takes place in Tokyo before the end of this year. The South Korean President already proposed the same idea to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga and they gave positive answers.
It is expected that South Korea will act as the energy supply hub of the Far East once the South Korean President’s concept takes shape. Specifically, it is expected to be able to bring electricity at a low cost from Russia and Mongolia and supply it to China, Japan, etc. Then, South Korea can achieve a reduction in power production cost, more stable electricity supply, growth of related industries, and even better relations with the countries participating in the network.
“South Korea, Japan and China are in need of more electricity whereas Russia and Mongolia are rich in oil, LNG and wind power and, as such, can supply electricity at a low price,” the government official explained, adding, “The five countries’ cooperation can make a significant contribution to stable energy supply.”
In fact, projects of this type are already underway in various regions. The examples include those in Northern Europe, Southern Africa, and the region that covers Southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East. The total costs of the projects are US$499.1 billion, US$347.5 billion and US$772.7 billion, respectively.