Korea’s dependency rate on renewable energy sources in total electricity supply is likely to rise to 12 percent by 2027, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy seid on Thursday. In the first National Energy Basic Plan for 2008 to 2030, the energy policy master plan, the portion of electricity from renewable energy sources to the total supply by 2027 was put at 7 percent.
The new target for renewable energy sources came in a draft of the 6th Basic Plan for Long-Term Electricity Supply and Demand for 2013 to 2027. This plan is updated by the ministry biannually for the nation’s long-term electricity-related policy direction, and the ministry will finalize the draft by next week at the latest following a public hearing and a review by the electricity policy committee.
According to the draft of the sixth, the ministry will increase the total electricity generation capacity to 130 million kilowatts by 2027, a 20 to 30 million kilowatt increase from the previous plan, to iron out an electricity shortage issue.
A new super-ministry on science and information technology is expected to grow larger with two vice ministers and by taking over almost all functions related to research, policy, industry and high education in the fields scattered among various government organizations.
The Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry will hand over all of its trade negotiation roles to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, to be renamed Industry, Trade and Resources Ministry, despite its protest. These and other follow-up measures to President-elect Park Geun-hye’s government reorganization plans were announced Tuesday.
“The plans reflect the governing philosophy and existing problems felt by President-elect Park Geun-hye through her long years of state affairs experience and National Assembly activities. We believe this government reorganization will create an effectively working government through well-distributed functions,” said Chin Young, vice chairman of the transition committee.
Park had unveiled last week the revamp plans which aim for a bigger government with 17 ministries, three lower-level ministries and 17 agencies under the banner of an efficient Cabinet to promote innovation-based growth.
The South Korean renewable energy industry, which has been going through the recession, is expected to experience more difficulty next year as the government cut budget for the industry.
The Ministry of Knowledge and Economy (MKE) cut 12 percent of the budget allocated to the renewable energy sector to 860 billion won ($800.75 million) from 977.8 billion won, according to the 2013 budget the MKE submitted to the National Assembly Friday. Of the overall cut, the budget for renewable energy supply expansion suffered the steepest reduction.
The government’s spending on projects aimed at boosting the supply of eco-friendly energy declined 20 percent from 134 billion won this year to 105.9 billion won next year, while the budget for expanding photovoltaic power supply plunged 53 percent to 26.1 billion won from 55 billion won.
The nation’s ambitious goal to become one of the world’s top four electric-vehicle production powerhouses faces a bumpy road due to slower-than-expected market penetration.
Under the 2020 vision for green cars, unveiled in 2010, the government plans to replace 20 percent of cars on the road with EVs for Korea to take 10 percent of the global EV market. For this goal, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy have invested in infrastructure for EVs to boost demand for the vehicles.
Despite these efforts for the past two years, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, which controls the nation’s budget, recently cut the Ministry of Environment’s 2013 budget for EVs by more than 50 percent to 27.9 billion won ($26 million). “It was necessary to cut the EV-related budget next year due to slower-than-expected demand for EVs this year,” a ministry official said.
Even public organizations, which have led the creation of demand for EVs with support of the central government for the past year, have themselves been slow to adopt EVs. As of September this year, Seoul City uses 53 EVs, only 13.8 percent of this year’s target of 385 units.
The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said on December 4 that Korea will break the US$1-trillion barrier in trade figures (sum of export and import figures) by the 8th. The item that contributed most was none other than petroleum products including gasoline, diesel, and lubricant, overtaking traditional major export items such as ships, semiconductors, and automobiles.
The amount of exports in petroleum products for the 11 months between January and November was $51.72 billion, accounting for 10.3 percent in total exports. It also exhibited the highest growth rate among the top-ten export items.
The total export figure for the year is forecast to be $555.2 billion, almost identical to that recorded in 2011. The top export items other than petroleum products for the 11-month period were semiconductors ($46.1 billion), general machinery ($44.0 billion), automobiles ($43.0 billion), petrochemical ($42.0 billion), steel products ($32.6 billion), and mobile communications ($19.8 billion).
Korea will invest 930 billion won ($858.7 million) until 2020 to boost the nano industry as part of its efforts to make the country one of the world’s top three players in the area, the government said Tuesday.
The envisioned investment consists of 650 billion won set aside by the central government for its budget and 280 billion won assigned by the private sector and municipal governments, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. The money will be spent on research and development activities in the nano industry, it added.
In addition to the investment plan, the ministry said that it aims to become the world’s third largest country in terms of global market share in the nano industry. To that end, the government will push to achieve $250 billion in exports of nano products or about 10 percent of the global market until 2020.
The South Korean government plans to invest 350 billion won ($316 million) over the next decade to expand the country’s robot industry by more than 10 times, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) said Wednesday.
With the investment, the government will develop various technologies and new industrial, as well as commercial robots, such as disaster relief robots and home assistance robots.
The government expects there will be a big bang in the robot market, as robots will be integrated into all kinds of industries, raising the demand for robots to address issues of aging, safety, labor shortage and resource shortages, the ministry said.
Korean scientists have developed new organic materials that may help the electronics industry produce next-generation displays and maintain its global competitiveness. A team of scientists led by professor Choi Dong-hoon of Korea University said it has discovered extended conjugated molecules through compounds of porphyrin. The porphyrin derivatives may be used to boost the efficiency of semiconducting devices such as organic field-effect transistors for next generation displays, it said.
The organic materials could be applied to the development of flexible displays, transparent displays and foldable displays, or the convergence of all these types of future displays, which, experts said, could replace newspapers and magazines in the near future. The team found that the materials provide “strong intermolecular interactions, while enhancing the charge-transport efficiency” in organic FETs as well as optoelectronic devices.
Commercial Internet speeds will jump 100-fold next year and Korea is lighting the way for these game-changing technological advances, the state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) said yesterday. The ETRI demonstrated the speed of its newly developed Internet network, the wavelength division multiplexed-passive optical network (WDM-PON), yesterday in the lobby of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi. The research center set up two computers, one connected to its current network and the other to the new WDM-PON, to show how it was already possible to download the same 350-megabyte video at 100 times the speed.
It took 1 second to download on the new network and 28 seconds on the current network, or Optical LAN. This marked the highest Internet speed available anywhere in the world, said Lee Sang-soo, director of ETRI’s optical access research team.
According to Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement (KIRIA), the production scale of the Korean robotics industry jumped from USD 600 million in 2007 to USD 2 billion last year, and is expected to reach USD 2.7 billion in 2012. The structure of the industry has also been changing. The industry has traditionally focused on manufacturing robots as the strength of the Korean economy lies in hardware. However, it is now gradually expanding its areas into professional and personal service robots. The manufacturing robots of the annual average percentage change was 21.3%(USD 1.4 billion, 2011), professional service robots 40.6%(USD 61 million) and personal service robots 49.3%(USD 214 million) for the last six years.
“Given the worldwide slowdown in the robotics industry, as well as the global financial crisis over the last decade, the Korean robotics industry has fared quite well. Now the Korean robotics industry has grown to a level where it can compete with, if not exceed, the U.S., or Japanese products, and the technology gap has significantly narrowed. It has also become the benchmark for some nations, and even advanced nations in robotics are paying keen attention to its industry and policies,” said Kam-chan Kang, Director General for Emerging Industries at the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE). Compared to the U.S. (100), the Korean robotics technology remains at 79.2 with 2.1 years of technology gap.