Korean companies busy finding measures to reduce electricity bills

2023.05.23 13:25:01 | 2023.05.23 13:56:36

LS Electric Co.’s Cheongju plant [Courtesy of LS Electric]이미지 확대

LS Electric Co.’s Cheongju plant [Courtesy of LS Electric]

Korean manufacturing companies, which consume a significant amount of industrial electricity, are busy finding solutions to reduce their costs, with some already taking proactive measures with innovative energy-saving strategies to cope with higher power bills.

LS Electric Co.’s Cheongju plant has independently developed a factory energy management system (FEMS) by integrating its power and automation technologies. With an investment of 6.7 billion won ($5.1 million), the company has implemented a 1 megawatt-class energy storage system (ESS), a 2 MW-class solar power generation system, LED lighting and a central control center to monitor real-time energy consumption throughout the factory. As a result, LS Electric has achieved a reduction of about 25 percent in overall energy consumption.

LG Chem Ltd.’s Ochang plant has also adopted FEMS, leading to an annual energy savings of about 11.4 billion won. When FEMS is implemented, companies can expect an average energy savings of around 10 percent. Applied to the top 30 power-consuming companies, this translates to saving 10,292 gigawatt hour annually, equivalent to the monthly power generation of 14 GW-scale nuclear power plants.

Samsung Electronics Co.’s Device Experience (DX) division, responsible for manufacturing mobile phones and TVs, has implemented a building energy management system (BEMS) in its newly constructed building in Suwon. The company’s factory in Vietnam has been piloting its internally developed energy monitoring system since 2021. This system enables real-time power usage monitoring, target management, and analysis of hourly power usage patterns.

Samsung Electronics plans to gradually expand the application of this system to other facilities in the future.

However, these success stories are mostly limited to well-funded large corporations, and many small and mid-sized enterprises hesitate to adopt FEMS or BEMS due to the high implementation costs.

According to Korea Energy Agency, the number of FEMS installations has remained at around 40 to 50 per year based on the results of its support programs for FEMS promotion from 2019 to 2022. The number of BEMS installations in the public sector has been increasing, from 27 in 2019 to 39 in 2020, 72 in 2021, and 63 last year. In contrast, the number of BEMS installations in the private sector has remained at only one to three per year.

By Song Gwang-sup and Minu Kim

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