KEPCO; Smart grid tech deployment in South Korea

A contract in excess of $100 million to complete the Korea Electric Power Corporation’s (KEPCO) second and final phase of the Buk Dangjin-Godeok high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission link has been awarded.

The final phase will add an additional 1.5GW of transmission capacity to the existing 33-km link, supplying electricity from the Dangjin power plant to Godeok, home to one of the largest semi-conductor plants in the world, as well as to the Pyeongtaek city and the south of Seoul Metropolitan area. Together, these areas account for 40% of South Korea’s energy consumption

The contract, awarded to GE and KAPES – a KEPCO-GE joint venture – will in 2020 complete the first 1.5GW phase of the bi-pole HVDC link that runs across the Ansanman Bay from Dangjin to Godeok.

With GE’s HVDC technology, KEPCO, Korea’s largest utility, was able to avoid the construction of a 100km overhead line that an alternating current (AC) scheme would have required. Moreover, this solution provides additional supply into this high-growth region.

With South Korea experiencing a 53% growth in energy demand within the last decade and continuing to be one of the biggest energy consumers in the world, the Buk Dangjing-Godeok link is crucial in developing South Korea’s transmission network to meet the nation’s growing energy demand.  

Compared to AC technology, HVDC lowers transmission costs and energy losses as well as having a smaller footprint, making it a more efficient and environmentally-friendly way to move electricity over long distances.

The KAPES joint venture between GE and KEPCO is a long-term strategic relationship to co-develop HVDC projects and increase Korean transmission grid capabilities based on GE technology.

“With this project, GE and KEPCO continue to reinforce the value of the KAPES joint venture.  The investment that has been made to transfer knowledge and localize GE’s HVDC technology continues to be a win-win partnership,” said Rajendra Iyer, GE’s Grid Solutions’ integrated solutions leader. “GE is proud to be able to contribute to South Korea’s growing energy economy in this way.”

To date, GE and KAPES have been awarded six grid-critical HVDC projects in Korea, starting in 1994 when GE provided the original 300-megawatt HVDC bi-pole link for the 101-km, point-to-point submarine electric interconnector linking South Korea’s Jeju Island with the mainland.