SmartMeters.com has an article about South Korean efforts to make the smart grid pervasive, partially as a result of their near complete dependence on imported energy (a few tidal power projects excepted) - South Korea Sets 2030 for Fully Integrated Smart Grid.
South Korea has established an official plan to have a fully integrated smart grid by 2030. A two-page report by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy details its plan for smart grid deployment through 2030, including target dates a range of milestones such as advanced metering infrastructure, PHEV quick-charging stations, and microgrid communications.
David J. Leeds, a smart-grid analyst with GTM Research says the presentation is “on par or better than anything I’ve seen from a progressive utility in the U.S. They clearly intend to be one of the first nations to have a fully integrated smart grid in place.”
South Korea is laying the groundwork to become a leading exporter of energy-related services. Samsung for example, has committed to becoming the world’s largest solar provider by 2015 by agreeing to build $1.6 billion worth of factories and other facilities in Ontario, Canada. Along with LG, Samsung has instituted initiatives to reduce power consumption in their household appliances.
Even though South Korea is aggressively pursuing solar as an export business, its internal goals for renewable energy are much less ambitious, with a target of 11 percent in 2030. At the same time, one-third of households are expected to be energy self-sufficient.
The MKE’s presentation calls for a 100 percent AMI penetration by 2020, along with an expansion to nearly 2.5 million PHEVs in 2030 with the capacity for vehicle-to-grid transmission. The price tag for the smart grid commitment includes an estimated $6.2 billion to be spent on technology development and $18 billion will go into building infrastructure.
South Korean media has reported that The SK Group, which includes SK Energy, SK Telecom and SK Networks, will be expected to be a major player in developing the grid. SK Telecom, for example, has partnered with Samsung for a pilot project on the island of Jeju to test multiple technologies.
Unlike western countries that have multiple utilities, South Korea is unique in that the entire population is serviced by just one energy utility, KEPCO. The country is also a broadband Mecca and is the center for online gaming development, social networking and other broadband service.
Leeds notes that while South Korean is promoting their lead position in smart energy, though country also “imports essentially all of its energy, so there is a necessity there that may drive Korea to develop next-generation smart grid technologies ahead of the pack.”