▲ Attendees and organizers celebrate the closing of the conference on Oct. 30. Photo courtesy CEPSI 2014
Nearly 2,200 top executives of power suppliers, bureaucrats and scholars from 35 countries were at the ICC Jeju over five days from Oct. 26 to 30 for the Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI), Asia’s biggest such event.
The conference is in its 20th year having started in 1975 and this year the theme was "Smart and Green Society." Through a number of display booths and seminars, attendees discussed the responsibilities of power generators in a future era of renewable energy, smart grids and climate change.
The event was organized by the Association of the Electricity Supply Industry of East Asia and the Western Pacific (AESIEAP) alongside state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).
▲ An EV on display at the Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI), Asia’s biggest such event. Photo by Darren Southcott
CEPSI organizers emphasized Korea’s crucial role in promoting renewable energies and energy management technologies and stressed the importance of new technologies in a rapidly changing power sector, following the emergence of shale gas, for example, and uncertainties regarding the future of nuclear energy, climate change impact and other factors.
Renewable energy engineers also held a separate technology conference during the event and on Oct. 29 the 5th Smart Grid Day was held which included panel sessions on smart grid innovation and promising electric power technologies. Speakers came from countries including China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, America, Germany and Spain.
CEPSI is just the latest of recent inter-national events that have put Jeju on the map as a leading new and renewable energy hub, following the annual Wind Energy Asia conference and the International Electric Vehicle Expo. Jeju Special Self-Governing Province itself plans to be a Carbon-Free Island by 2030 by replacing all conventional vehicles with EVs and by expanding the use of new and renewable energies.
▲ Some more EV solutions at the event, these from LG. Photo by Darren Southcott
KEPCO president Cho Hwan-Eik said the event was an “Asian Games” for the electric industry. Attendees were certainly leaders in their fields, although the seminars on research and development suggest successful innovation is more of a marathon than a 100-meter dash.
As per the theme, and to speed the process up, Li Ruge, executive vice-president with the State Grid Corporation of China, said in a keynote speech he hopes to see cooperation across the continent on all “electricity-related technologies, including smart grids, ultra high-pressure power transmission, and undersea cables.”
Other speakers outlined their respective nation's commitments to greenhouse gas emissions reduction and new and renewable energies, stressing the need to keep up the pace of innovation. At the KEPCO Special Session on Monday, Martin Hauske of Accenture Smart Grid Services stated that leading the market was essential, as the experience of Nokia in smartphone technology showed that standing still makes “failure inevitable.”
At a CEO roundtable discussion on Monday, top executives from 54 power companies, including the CEOs of China’s five largest power generators, exchanged views on their plans to reduce carbon emissions while boosting renewable energy. Chairman Chen Jinhang, boasted of China Datang Corporation’s 120 GW capacity being more than all of Korea, and affirmed his intention to accelerate the move to low-carbon, high-efficiency energy.
▲ A smart grid model from KEPCO. Photo by Darren Southcott
“The energy market is transforming into a smart business model ... toward micro-grid, through decentralized power and intelligent power systems,” said Chen.
Leading technology companies also displayed their latest wares in the booths on the conference floor, with LG, for example, displaying a highly efficient solar module, an Energy Storage System (ESS) with the world's leading energy conversion efficiency, high-energy ESS batteries, large-capacity Power Conditioning Systems (PCS), and the world's first ICT-based Smart Microgrid Solution (SMS).
Organizer KEPCO’s booth dominated the floor space, showing everything from the latest EV technology to models of electric homes and smart grids. They also highlighted their local projects such as the Carbon-Free Island project on Gapa-do, southwest Jeju, where they have successfully installed wind power generators, an ESS, smart meters in each house, and electric vehicles. This is in addition to the Smart Grid Testbed, operational between 2010 and 2013 in Gujwa-eup, northeast Jeju.
KEPCO also promoted its wind power success on Jeju, noting that, buoyed by a 2011 ordinance to develop the industry, 142 wind power generators are installed at 23 sites, with a capacity of 326.31 MW. As part of the conference, visiting CEOs were taken to many of these sites around Jeju.
▲ KEPCO's UAV Inspection System for Overhead Lines. Photo by Darren Southcott
Fellow hosts AESIEAP were also busy during the week and held their 2014 General Assembly on Monday. There it was announced that the membership had jumped from 18 to 22 countries, accepting Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal and New Zealand as new members.
It was not all fanfare, as plenty of busi-ness went down over the five days. KEPCO hosted a trade show on Tuesday, for example, for 20 small and medium-sized manufacturers of equipment for power generation, transmission and distribution. They were joined by five state-run buyers from Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as KEPCO.
Lee Byoung-ho, director general of partner collaboration at KEPCO, told The Korea Times that by inviting inter-nationally competitive suppliers, "The show will pave the way for small- and medium-sized companies to expand beyond their home turf."
After proceedings ended on Thursday, the industry insiders in Thailand readied to host the next CEPSI in 2016.
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