German firms energizing Korea

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German firms energizing Korea

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A raft of German energy companies is sailing into Korea hoping to work with local companies in developing alternative energies including fuel cell batteries, windmills and solar power. Germany is one of the world’s leading nations in developing alternative energy, with almost 10 percent of its domestic electricity requirements coming from such sources. And after the Korean government announced in October plans to increase by 20 percent annual financial support for production of alternative energy sources by 2006, German companies, some of whom had already made their way to Korea, started to consider Korea one of the world’s most promising markets for alternative energies. Last year, German energy firm Lahmeyer International opened a wind power generator in Yeongdeok, North Gyeongsang province, in a joint venture with Korea’s Youngduk Wind Power Co. Korea Electric Power Corp., the state-run energy company, has a contract to purchase electricity from the Yeongdeok site for the next 15 years. In October, Germany’s SunTechnics, a specialist in solar power, won a contract to build Korea’s largest solar power plant with local partner Korea Cottrell Co., which designs and builds environmental systems for energy companies. Among other German energy companies, MDE, Germany’s market leader in decentralized energy systems with gas engines, and small-scale hydropower developer Ossberger have expressed an interest in collaborating with Korean firms. Another one, solar energy company Scheuten Solar Tech, has already agreed to build a solar power generator in South Jeolla province this year. The German influx has not been limited to private companies. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous of the country’s 16 federal states, has launched a state-wide campaign to sell alternative energy technologies to Korea, having participated in the 2005 Energy Conservation Exhibition in COEX, southern Seoul, in September. “We will form a group of inspectors to visit Germany next February and study new energy facilities there,” said Yoon Hye-young, executive vice president of Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. by Choi Ji-young

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