Kepco signs investment deals as it eyes global energy hub

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Kepco signs investment deals as it eyes global energy hub

Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco), the nation’s sole power distributor, said that it signed investment deals with 23 companies at its headquarters in Naju, South Jeolla, on Monday.

The power company has attracted 200 investors or companies to develop a global energy technology hub called the Bitgaram Energy Valley in South Jeolla. Bitgaram is a new city established near the Yeongsan River, which runs through both Gwangju and Naju, and which Kepco hopes to turn into the center of the local energy industry. The idea is similar to Silicon Valley in the United States, where the only difference is the Silicon one focuses on start-ups and technology firms and Bitgaram focuses on the energy sector.

“We will transform the energy valley into a smart city where many of newly growing technologies on energy are concentrated from now on,” said Choi Hwan-eik, CEO of Kepco. “We plan to have a total of 250 companies participate in the project by this year, while focusing on attracting more number of large size companies and foreign firms to the valley.”

According to Kepco, 13 companies in businesses related to newly growing technologies on energy and 10 companies that manufacture power material and machinery joined the energy valley project on Monday.

The energy valley project began in 2015 and started to attract investments in 2016, when 177 companies participated in a year.

Kepco said it has attracted 881 billion won ($791 million) including Monday’s deals and that it expects to create about 6,086 jobs in the region.

“I would like to thank 23 companies that promised to invest in our region even though the country is facing various economic uncertainties, along with other uncertainties from the country and abroad,” said Yoon Jang-hyeon, Mayor of Gwangju. “The energy sector is the major growth engine for the region and we will try our best to have the year 2017 become the year where we design the future of Gwangju.”

Lee Nak-yon, governor of South Jeolla, also promised that it will support companies that relocated to the energy valley to have them and the valley become more successful.

Meanwhile, Korea was one of the parties in the Paris climate accord, and as the nation’s sole power generator and distributor, Kepco has been at the forefront of the government’s strong policy drive toward energy efficiency.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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