KEPCO CEO Cho Hwan-eik, left, and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son shake hands on Wednesday at SoftBank headquarters in Japan after sharing views to aggressively push forward the super grid project in Northeast Asia.
South Korea’s state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) and Japan’s internet, robotics and energy technology conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. have moved a step closer to the implementation of their ambitious project to construct a super grid that will connect a power grid across four neighboring countries - Korea, Japan, China and Mongolia - after the two firms’ chiefs recently met to reaffirm their commitment to the project.
South Korea’s largest utility provider KEPCO said on Wednesday that Cho Hwan-eik, its president and chief executive, recently met with Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive of SoftBank, in Japan and agreed to enhance their partnership in promoting a super grid project and exploring other energy projects that can usher in the fourth industrial revolution. The super grid project is a multinational project that aims to build solar or wind energy farms in Mongolia and transmit energy to neighboring countries China, Korea, and western part of Japan via a seabed power grid.
The two companies have been discussing details to embark on the project since last year. The lately initiated project would provide a cornerstone for the bolder plan of the Smart Energy Belt of One Asia that was first preached by SoftBank CEO Son and aims to source energy from a country with abundant new renewable energy to neighboring countries that lack such energy through a power grid.
An unnamed KEPCO official said that at the latest meeting, Cho and Son shared the view that the super grid in Northeast Asia can help reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. They also expected that the power grid project would pave the way for the establishment of a joint economic community in the region.
Cho, who has been promoting a super grid as a future growth engine for KEPCO, recently set forth a vision to deliver energy to be produced in Mongolia where energy cost is only one tenth of that in Japan to Japan via Korea. He added that KEPCO aims to boost its sales to 100 trillion won ($88.9 billion) in 2025 by building the Northeast Asia energy belt and incorporating leading digital technology that can expedite the fourth industrial revolution in the energy sector. Last year, the company raised 60.19 trillion won in sales.
The two chiefs also agreed to work together to pioneer the new energy market using KEPCO’s big data and SoftBank’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology.
By Kim Jung-hwan
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