Korea District Heating Corp. (KDHC) President Kim Kyung-won said, “Eco-friendly combined cycle power plants need to serve as a ‘bridge’ along the road of an energy paradigm shift from nuclear power and coal-fired plants to new and renewable energies.” KDHC President Kim was busy preaching the strengths of combined cycle power ahead of the commissioning of the 800MW-class Dongtan Combined Cycle Power Plant, the largest one of its kind in Korea, on Dec. 22.
Combined cycle power (community energy) not only generates electricity by using liquefied natural gas (LNG) in principle, but also produces steam for heating by using exhaust heat from power generation. Combined cycle power plants have higher energy efficiency and emit less greenhouse gas. Combined power units have an efficiency rate of more than 80 percent, compared to other plants for power generation, which stand at less than 50 percent.
“Expanding new and renewable energies is not easy to come by in a short period of time due to such limitations as a lack of sites, and their power supply stability is getting lower,” he said in a recent interview. As the combined cycle power plant serves as an emergency electricity to cope with an unstable power supply of new and renewable energies, the community energy will be a bridge in an era of energy shift, President Kim said.
In reality, advanced countries such as Germany, which seeks to wean itself off nuclear power, support combined cycle power plants as a stepping stone to transition its energy paradigm to new and renewable energies. Combined cycle power units are not fully recognized for producing heat and electricity in Korea, but they are given unfavorable treatment compared to businesses generating only electricity.
Korea District Heating Company (KDHC) recently became the first energy company in South Korea to achieve the Carbon Trust Product Carbon Footprint label for measuring the footprint of its heat distribution product. “(KDHC) is the first community energy company in the world to obtain the Carbon Trust assurance,” he said.
The achievement was owed to KDHC’s low-carbon and eco-friendly management activities, including the introduction of high-efficiency energy equipment and the development of low carbon technologies, Kim said. Of late, KDHC has grappled with addressing declining demand for heat, caused by heat insulation technologies. As part of efforts to explore new revenues sources to substitute for a declining demand for heat, he said the corporation is a desiccant cooling system for which KDHC is lunching as a pilot project in 2018.
KDHC Spearheads New, Renewable Energy Development
The Korea District Heating Corp. (KDHC) is considered to be synonymous with the Korean community energy industry.
The predecessor of the KDHC was established as the nation’s first home and commercial district heat business operator in 1986. It shifted into a public entity with the current name in May 1992 in accordance with the enactment of the Community Energy Business Act. The corporation is the nation’s largest district heating business operator with 18 business sites, 12 in the Seoul metropolitan area and six in provincial districts, covering 1.44 million apartment housing units and 2,260 commercial buildings.
The KDHC has so far made strenuous efforts to expand eco-friendly power generation. On top of solar energy, the corporation generates power using heat from the burning of garbage, methane gas from landfill sites, bio gas, geothermal heat, and other new and renewable energies.
The corporation produces 1,585MEh of electricity annually by operating photovoltaic power facilities in Daegu, Shinan, Bungdang, Pangyo, Sowon and Yangsan. Incineration produces 1.682 million Gcal of heat and steam caused by burning generates 81,000MWh of electricity annually. Landfill gas and bio gas produce 11,000MWh of power per year.
The KDHC is accelerating efforts to develop eco-friendly energies. The corporation is joining forces with outside related institutions to explore new and renewable energies. For instance, the corporation signed an agreement to expand new and renewable energies with the Incheon Port Authority and Korea South-East Power on Sept. 22. Under the deal, the three will work on the exploration of new and renewable energies using sunlight and wind, unlimited resources of the ocean and ports.
They have agreed to set up eco-friendly new and renewable energy facilities in idle backwater areas of Incheon Port. The project is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create new jobs and contribute to the reinvigoration of the regional economy.
The KDHC participated in the Korea Energy Show 2017 in KINTEX in Goyang, north of Seoul, in September to show off the latest new and renewable technologies, including carbon capture utilization technology using tidal waves.