South Korean metals refiner Korea Zinc Inc. will install what would be the country’s biggest industrial energy storage system (ESS) to be self-sufficient in power sourcing to save electricity cost over the next three years and in compliance with the new government’s focus on renewables and fight with pollutant emissions.
Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems Co. signed a contract with Korea Zinc on July 27 to build an industrial ESS with a capacity of 150 megawatt hours (MWh) at Korea Zinc’s refinery plant in the southeastern city of Ulsan by November. Korea Zinc will be spending 50 billion won ($44 million) for the installation.
The companies claim that the new ESS would be the largest of its kind in Korea.
An ESS captures energy for use at a later time, significantly improving energy efficiency. It can prevent power shortage at peak times and is the core facility for the commercialization of wind, solar and other renewable energies.
Thanks to the government’s special electricity discount program for the ESS-supported energy generation earlier this year, Korea Zinc expects to save 64.4 billion won in electricity expenses during the first three years after installing the ESS, said an unnamed Korea Zinc official. It would save 7 billion won or more in electricity bill every year even after the government’s incentive program ends, the official added.
Korea Zinc consumes a large amount of electricity due to its metals refinery process involving electrolysis. Its annual electricity expense averages at 300 billion won and it spent 277.9 billion or 5.5 percent of its total revenue for electricity use last year. The company anticipates its latest investment in ESS would not only cut production cost but also improve its bottom line.
The number of plants equipped with an ESS in Korea is on the steady rise. According to Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the supply of ESS facilities in Korea has jumped nearly 60 percent to 89MWh in the first six months of this year from 55MWh a year ago.
More companies are expected to install an ESS as the county’s new government has vowed to phase out of nuclear power and shift to renewable and clean energy.
Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., sister of Hyundai Electric & Energy Systems, already announced it would build an industrial ESS with a capacity of 50 MWh at its Ulsan plant, located on the southeastern coast of the country, at a cost of 24.6 billion won in the second half of this year.
By Moon Ji-woong
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]