Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) and SoftBank will soon embark on the process to build a super grid that will link the power grid among four neighboring countries, South Korea, China, Japan and Mongolia, to allow them to share energy as a part of the ambitious push dubbed as “Smart Energy Belt of One Asia” proposed by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.
“We have initiated a preliminary feasibility study on a demonstration project linking a 2-gigawatt electricity grid between Korea and China, as well as between Korea and Japan,” Cho Hwan-eik, president and chief executive of South Korea’s state utility firm KEPCO, said during the 17th World Knowledge Forum (WKF) held in Seoul on Thursday. At the forum, Cho released detailed plans of creating the super grid that he has recently discussed with CEO Masayoshi Son of Japan-based IT giant SoftBank for the first time. The lately initiated project would provide a cornerstone for the more ambitious plan of the Smart Energy Belt of One Asia that was first preached by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.
The One Asia smart grid push aims to transmit new renewable energy such as solar or wind power energy from countries that are best able to produce it to other countries that lack such energy by building a power grid among the nations.
About 7 trillion won ($6.2 billion) to 8 trillion won would be injected in the first demonstration project that would construct a power grid linking Mongolia, China, Korea and Japan.
The demonstration project will first build a 2-gigawatt complex that can produce solar and wind power in Mongolia and a seabed power grid connecting Shandong Province of China, Korea and western part of Japan that will transmit renewable energy to be produced in Mongolia. The project is joined by KEPCO, China’s State Grid Corp China (SGCC), Japan’s SoftBank and Mongolia’s energy development company Newcom. Depending on the success of the demonstration project, the super grid project would be extended to Russia and India in the future.
The four countries are still discussing details such as technologies to be used in building the grid, said the president. “The super grid project is expected to promote cooperation in Northeast Asia,” he added.
Masayoshi Son has vowed to make aggressive investments in new renewable energy project. “Gobi Desert in Mongolia is a rich repository of new renewable energy and we will push forward with the super grid of One Asia,” said Miwa Shigeki, a strategy and planning executive of SoftBank who attended the session of One Asia Supergrid at the WKF.
By Park Yong-beom and Lee Yu-sup
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