The Korea Electrical Contractors Association (KECA), the coalition of private South Korean electricity providers, has stepped up its cooperation with North Korea by launching its second unification council this past Monday.
The first council, which assembled last year, discussed the standardization of electricity terminology and construction, grooming technicians focused on North Korea, and suggesting policy to the South Korean government on building electricity infrastructure in North Korea.
“Regarding the unification of terminology, the difference between South and North is considerable, as North Korea doesn’t use loanwords (from English). Before unification, we are trying to unify the terminology and construction process,” a staff member at the council told NK News.
The council is also investing to groom experts by providing vocational training to defectors through Hanawon, the South Korea facility for defector reeducation, and fund North Korean students at Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST).
“We have signed MOUs with Hanawon and YUST,” the staff member said. “As defectors have information about North Korean geography, it would be efficient if they built electricity infrastructure in North Korea after unification.”
The president of YUST, Kim Jin-kyung, is also serving as a president of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). The council is taking an indirect route to cooperation with North Korea.
For future electricity infrastructure, the council has proposed a micro-grid, which would precede the establishment of a national scale system.
“The micro-grid is similar to the system we are using on isolated islands, independent of the national electricity provision. As North Korean electricity facilities are so poor, it is better to build a local system and then connect them later.”
The project aims to build a micro-grid based on wind power, solar power and small-scale waterpower generation. According to the Korean Statistical Information Service, North Korea produced 22.1 trillion kWh in 2013, 62.9 percent of it from waterpower and 37.1 percent from firepower.
“The statistics are inaccurate and do not include the small percentage of renewable energy generation. It is known that there are some small-scale wind power or solar power generators,” he said.
In August, the North Korean publication Korea Today reported that North Korea has constructed renewable power facilities to help generate electricity for Nampho port on the country’s west coast.
The council is planning to apply South Korean experience in building an independent micro-grid – such as on Ulleungdo island – as a possible plan for cooperation between the South and North.
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