POSCO Energy's failure in research and development of fuel cells caused a stir in the parliamentary inspection. Rep. Kim Kyu-whan of the Liberty Korea Party pointed out that the research and development of fuel cells by POSCO Energy failed even after receiving huge state subsidies worth 40 billion won, causing fatal damage to suppliers.
"We have mentioned the possibility of the bankruptcy of Gyeonggi Green Energy in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, which uses POSCO Energy's fuel cell products since last August, and concerns appear to be looming. If the company declares bankruptcy, the total loss of the project is close to 320 billion won," Rep. Kim said.
He also raised suspicions that POSCO Energy is transferring losses to suppliers. "POSCO Energy demanded higher maintenance costs even though it did not meet its guarantee output at the time of the contract," Rep. Kim said.
"Posco Energy signed a 700 million won contract on the premise that the unit price would go down five years ago, but this time it requested 1.3 billion won. Gyeongi Green Energy is not working properly, and so are other small and medium-sized companies that receive POSCO Energy services," a witness at the meeting said.
"It is true that research and development was carried out at the POSCO Research Institute, but technology still depends on the U.S. FuelCell Energy (FC). We invested 500 billion won to build a factory, but we are suffering from an aggregated deficit of 320 billion won over the past 10 years," POSCO Energy CEO Park Ki-hong said.
Regarding the criticism that POSCO Energy is seeking to separate its fuel cell business by establishing a joint venture, CEO Park said, "We never decided to stop it, but we will continue our business."