The Next Generation SOC of Korea, Integrating Energy, Environment and Information
South Korea and Its Dire Need for Connectivity
In a typological sense, South Korea is an island, since North Korea is blocking the path to the continent. Islands can survive only when they construct intimate connectivity with neighboring countries so that they can facilitate the sharing of needed resources with them. An avowed IT stronghold, South Korea does not play an important part in the world map of optic cables which stretch from the United States, through Alaska, to Tokyo and Hong Kong. If Japan were to cease opening its cables to Korea, we would have to rely on China or Russia to regain access to the Internet. In our long history, we have an example of a similar hurdle that we overcame by constructing strong diplomatic relations with neighbors. It's the example of Shilla. From the fourth to sixth centuries, Shilla was surrounded by Kogurae and Baekche and thus also like an island, but it went on using diplomacy and building connectivity to make the Unified Shilla kingdom which lasted for a thousand years. Like Shilla, we need to be strongly connected to the world and when it comes to energy, the need is urgent.
The World’s Striving to Build an Energy Supergrid
The faster machines work, the more energy they consume. With the ever-growing need for speed, the world is using increasingly more energy, so how to procure and supply adequate energy has become a top agenda for world leaders. Including the Club of Rome, which was founded in 1968 by international professionals to discuss humanity's top priorities, many international organizations like TREC (Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation) and UGE (Urban Green Energy) recognize energy distribution as a major solution to the issue. While half the world is awake, the other half is asleep. When we build the worldwide energy supergrid, we can send the unused energy to the opposite half of the world since we generate energy ‘round the clock. That is how we can procure and supply adequate energy throughout the world.
The Blind Spot of the Master Plan for National Energy
In the Master Plan for National Energy published in 2008, we can see that the energy policies of the government are centered on how to generate more energy and consume less. Perhaps because we have spent the previous seven decades as a typological island, the leaders in South Korea don't seem to pay proper heed to energy distribution using international grids. The Democratic Party of the U.S. asserts that they put the installation of Smart Grid, i.e. the national energy distribution grid, as their top priority. I believe we also should consider this matter seriously so that we can acquire new development momentum. Four decades ago, we constructed the Kyungbu Expressway and by laying the path for logistics we industrialized this country. Again, two decades ago, we built the ultra-speed national communications grid and with this we succeeded in laying the foundation for information technology development. We cannot solve fossil fuel problems with fossilized solutions. The Far East energy network including Korea, China, Japan and Russia should be made in a near term to open a new era of sustainable development and prosperity of Korea.
Translation by Kang, Soo Jung
President of Salt&Light