Bigger bills push energy saving plan

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Bigger bills push energy saving plan

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Yoon Sang-jick, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, fourth from left, meets with major business officials to discuss efficient energy usage at Samsung SDI’s plant in Giheung, Gyeonggi, on Friday. Provided by the ministry

In a bid to get the country’s biggest power users to adopt energy-saving systems, the government plans to boost bills during peak hours.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said yesterday that the idea is to encourage businesses and factories to aggressively adopt new technologies such as the energy storage system (ESS) or the energy management system (EMS). Both help ease sudden surges in power demand. The new billing system will be presented in October.

The systems are expected to ease the financial burden on energy-intensive facilities while efficiently managing power consumption during peak hours.

Buildings or factories with the ESS system will be able to save up energy during the night when demand is low. That reserve will then be used during peak hours, when energy costs are high.

“The ESS system will help maximize power management as it will ease surges in energy demand,” the Energy Ministry said in a statement.

Additionally, the government added that it will expand incentives such as tax credits aimed at getting facilities to install such systems. Currently, there are more than 3,200 buildings and plants that the government considers mass power consumers.

Small and midsize companies will only have to pay up to 50 percent of the cost of installing an EMS, the ministry said.

As of the end of 2012, only 2.9 percent of businesses in Korea had adopted an EMS.

For buildings, the average cost of setting up an EMS is between 300 million won ($269,400) and 600 million won. For factories, it’s between 600 million and 1 billion won.

Korea’s power consumption has grown more than five times faster than the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation’s average.

The ministry added that while the nation’s economy grew 70 percent in the last 12 years, power consumption surged 93 percent.

Although the country has gone through the worst of this summer’s energy crisis, the government is still on high alert as the heat is expected to continue through next month.

On Friday, Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick met with high-ranking officials from major companies including LG Chem and SK Innovation, as well as top officials of the nation’s tech companies, to discuss energy-saving systems and creating a new tech-based energy market.

BY lee ho-jeong [ojlee82@joongang.co.kr]

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