The Korea New and Renewable Energy Association (KNREA) has been engaged in various new and renewable energy projects of public sector as well as private sector including support for establishment of related regulations, development of overseas market and network, training and education of human powers in the industry, etc,. Park Chang-hyeong, Vice Chairman of KNREA, has been in the center of all such efforts. BusinessKorea had an interview with him to hear about the plans and activities of the association this year. Here are the excerpts.
What are the fields and projects focuses on this year?
The KNREA is engaged in; revision and improvement of relevant regulations, assistance in opening up overseas markets, offering of information on new technologies and market trends, domestic and overseas networking, training and education, and increase of awareness of new and renewable energy and many more.
This year, the association intends to concentrate more on overseas project feasibility studies for the sake of export promotion and the establishment of an export support center. Also, it is going to beef up the role of its 11 consultative bodies covering wind, photovoltaic, geothermal power generation and so forth in a bid to communicate better with the industry. At the same time, it will help businesses tackle financial difficulties, which constitute a big hurdle in their technological development and investment.
Where is the new and renewable energy industry of Korea standing in terms of international and technological competitiveness and what might be the measures for it to enhance its competitive edge?
By value chain, Korea’s global photovoltaic market share stands at 14.4% in polysilicon, 7.1% in ingot and wafer, 4.1% in cell and 4.2% in module. Once Korean firms’ polysilicon production facilities under construction are completed, the nation will have the production capacity second to none worldwide.
Exports are on the rise across all of the subsectors and, these days, local players are winning more of those orders for equipment and power stations, including turn-key based ones. As far as wind power generation is concerned, the grid parity is almost reached and investors are gathering fast like in its photovoltaic counterpart, signaling that it will be a dynamo to lead the overall energy industry.
At present, Vestas of Denmark is sweeping the global market with Chinese firms, who are benefitting from their large domestic market, joining the list at a fast clip. Five out of the top 10 global players are Chinese now. Korea, in the meantime, is already a world-class exporter of blades, flanges and many other forging products. Though its competitiveness in basic technology is lagging somewhat behind, it is narrowing the gap at a rapid pace by working consistently on technological development. Korea’s shipbuilding and IT industries are A-list the world over. I believe its photovoltaic and wind power generation fields will follow the way by building on its strengths and advantages.
How many firms are there in the sector and what are their average growth rate and total turnover during the past several years?
The companies in the segment have put much effort to grow the market whilst the government backing with aggressive policy. As a result, between 2007 and 2010, the number of the corporations more than doubled to 215 and that of their employees more than tripled to 13,380.
During the same period, their total sales jumped more than six-fold and reached 8.2 trillion won and their exports increased 590% to US$4.58 billion while private investment getting at 3.6 trillion won. The figures are truly astonishing and the high export growth rate, turnover and investment are indicating how promising Korea’s new and renewable energy industry is.
The statistics are showing that the sector is positioning itself as a key industry of the nation in various aspects, e.g. job creation, joint growth between large corporations and their smaller partners, export and investment. The growth trend is highly likely to continue for a while, too