KEPCO and Softbank unveil plans to build Asian ‘supergrid’


KEPCO and Softbank are looking to connect the power grids of South Korea, China, Japan and Mongolia, allowing them to share energy as part of a push toward developing what’s being called the “Smart Energy Belt of One Asia” proposed by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

During the 17th World Knowledge Forum (WKF) held in Seoul on Thursday, Cho Hwan-eik, president and chief executive of South Korea’s state utility firm KEPCO, said: “We have initiated a preliminary feasibility study on a demonstration project linking a 2GW electricity grid between Korea and China, as well as between Korea and Japan.” [South Korea’s KEPCO ready to export smart grid technologies]

According to local media, Cho released detailed plans of creating the super grid that he recently discussed with CEO Masayoshi Son of Japan-based IT giant SoftBank for the first time. The project would provide a cornerstone for the more ambitious plan of the Smart Energy Belt of One Asia that was first advocated by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.

Accelerated renewable energy integration

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. [Asian Utility Week 2016 attracts record number of international utilities]

It is reported that approximately 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 includes the construction of 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.

KEPCO, China’s State Grid Corp China (SGCC), Japan’s SoftBank and Mongolia’s energy development company Newcom will also be involved in the project.

“The super grid project is expected to promote cooperation in Northeast Asia,” added Son.

“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.