The Korea IT Times interviewed Kim Byung-moon, president of the New Renewable Energy Center, in early May. He spoke about many things including the green energy industry in Korea and the kind of green energies generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat.
Q: Where are the leading countries in the green energy market And what do you think about the level of the Korean green energy industry
A: As you know, nowadays, many countries are getting more interested in green energy as the climate change issue comes into sharp focus and high oil prices are up on the hill world-wide. It is expected that any country which has better green energy technology is going to be the leading country in an era of insufficient energies. Currently, the market is led by Japan, Canada and the United States, which together account for over 80 percent of the green energy market in the world.
Canada is very specialized in manufacturing generators for hydrogen fuel cells, the United States is focusing on commercializing battery fuel for vehicles, and Japan is spreading hydrogen fuel cells in its domestic market, especially to homes, and developing battery fuel vehicles. In order to catch up with these countries, Korea has also been developing its green energy technology since 2004. Korea now has a lot of progress in solar power, wind power, and hydrogen fuel.
Q: What is the long-term goal for making investment in research and development to the Korean green energy industry
A: The Korean government plans to increase the supply of green energy by up to 11 percent by 2030. Investment in R&D will increase from about US$2 trillion to US$7 trillion per year. R&D investment will focus on three major fields, such as hydrogen fuel cells, solar energy, and wind power. A total of US$120 trillion will be spent in developing core parts and equipment and R&D investment till 2030 in order to meet long-term goals.
Q: What do you usually do in order to encourage and spread green energy as next-gen energy
A: We, the Green Energy Center, are focusing on spreading the use of Hydrogen fuel cells, wind power and solar energy as they have the largest potential as green energy and are easily applicable and highly efficient. Particularly, hydrogen fuel cells could be used in public transportation and wind power could be used in over 1,000,000 homes as well. We plan to maintain a close relationship with the Renewable Portfolio Association (RPA) till 2011 and the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) will come into force in 2012 in order to make a larger green energy market. Also, we will support many Korean firms so that they can export their green energy technology and products to the global market.
Q: What are the strong points and prospects in the Korean green energy field
A: As I already mentioned, hydrogen fuel cells, solar energy and wind power will be a boon to us as the Korean Government is focusing on developing them. In the case of solar power energy, Korean firms have succeeded in domestically developing parts with raw materials while raising efficiency and lowering prices based on the semiconductor industry. The wind energy industry is still at an early stage but it is getting better in terms of finding growth potential with a bright outlook for the domestic market. Wind turbine power plants in particular are already set up by Korean manufacturers and are looking to see a lot of business opportunities such as building a million green houses. The hydrogen fuel industry succeeded in developing the core technology, so it lowered prices in the market. From my overall point of view, Korea has much potential in these three fields and there is no doubt that Korea is going to be one of the top leading countries in the green energy market.