Korea to Tap Overseas Electricity Markets

MKE sees nation's future breadwinner outside Korea's borders

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) set in motion a package of policies to muster the capacities of related organizations and provide support to explore the overseas markets as the nation's future breadwinner.
MKE 2nd Vice Minister Kim Jung-gwan presided over the inaugural meeting of a government-private sector consultation committee on the overseas market exploration of the power industry made up of power companies, heavy industry firms, contractors, export financing institutions and related associations on July 5 and discussed ways of facilitating the Korean power industry's entry into foreign markets. Among the participants of the meeting were Kim Do-gyun, director of the MKE's Power Industry Department, the CEOs of KEPCO and other power companies, as well as Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co., Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Daewoo Engineering & Construction, Hyundai Engineering & Construction, KOTRA, Korea Eximbank and Korea Development Bank.
Now that the domestic power industry is in a stage of saturation, an increasing number of Korean companies making inroads into foreign markets serve as a breakthrough to help Korean power companies create new profit models and boost related equipment exports.
A report released by the International Energy Agency showed that electricity demand is predicted to grow 6.7 percent in developing Asian countries in 2015, 4.7 percent in the Middle East, 3.8 percent in Africa and 3.7 percent in South America.
The Korean power industry's prowess was recognized when Korea won a deal to construct four nuclear power units in the United Arab Emirates in 2010. With its improved brand standing, the domestic power industry is now turning to make inroads into thermal power, new & renewable energy, power transfer and distribution segments in foreign countries.
Korea Electric Power Corp. and five power companies have so far strengthened their presence in Asian and Central and South American markets by making the most of the expertise and experiences they have accumulated while constructing and operating power plants. Their efforts have paid off and have the potential to further ramp up their presence there.
The Korean power industry had 18 projects to construct or operate power plants in foreign countries as of the end of 2010.
Success stories in focus are KEPCO's winning the Malaya power project in 1995 and the Ilijan combined cycle power project in 1999, both in the Philippines.
But due to high political and institutional risks, high-caliber expertise and close collaboration among diverse business entities as well as the government's active support are required to make overseas market entries successful.
Vice Minster Kim said a surge in developing countries?investments in power infrastructure serves as opportunities for Korean power entities to create new growth engines.
The inauguration of the government-private sector consultation committee will serve as a centripetal force to boost the nation's overseas entry into foreign markets, and the government will come up with a package of diverse support policies to ramp up the Korean power industry's competitiveness, MKE officials said.
The secretariat of the government-private sector consultation committee will be established, while a research forum on market exploration of the power industry will be formed and operated.
A web-based information system will be set up to share information on major countries'electricity markets, the current status of Korea's inroads and overseas marketing bids.
The MKE plans to implement strategies to support Korean companies'entries into foreign markets tailored to meet needs according to each stage of implementation of overseas projects, ranging from project development to manpower exchange, feasibility study and pilot projects.
The government plans to implement massive R&D projects to localize core technologies, including large-capacity gas turbines. nw

(Above) MKE 2nd Vice Minister Kim Jung-gwan gives a speech at the inaugural meeting of a government-private sector consultation committee on the overseas market exploration of the power industry as CEOs of the nation's power companies and other related industry representatives listen to him (below).

Photos on Courtesy of MKE

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