| Amid power shortage worries caused by sweltering heat wave, information and communications technology firms are turning to energy management business. Demand for technologies to improve energy efficiency is increasing, leading to an expansion in related markets.
According to energy management industry sources Sunday, Korea`s three mobile telecommunications operators of SK Telecom, KT and LG U+, and information technology firms including LG CNC and POSCO ICT are expanding investments into this sector.
KT launched last year an intellectual power demand management, known as "demand response," project by converging ICT on energy use and remotely managing it. To this end, KT cut 13.7 percent of energy costs by implementing the solution to control power consumption based on changes of power demand by hour.
Consequently, KT was able to obtain energy management business for 110 E-mart stores nationwide, Jeju High-tech Science complex, GS Caltex Research Institute in Daejeon and Sejong City complex community. It is expanding investments based on expectations that the power demand management market will expand from 50 billion won (44.94 U.S. million dollars) this year to 150 billion won (1.35 billion dollars) per year until 2016.
LG U+ was successful in pioneering overseas markets by making lighting energy saving as its next-generation business. In 2011, it developed an "intellectual lighting system" that integrates lighting with power control technology and integrated control system. Applying the intellectual lighting system enables a near 40 percent enhancement in efficiency by controlling lighting brightness according to place and time.
SK Telecom is promoting a "building energy management system" to implement on major energy users in cities such as buildings, hospitals and large department stores. The system connects lighting, air conditioner, heater and power conditioning equipment installed in buildings to the central control system through sensors and networks. To this end, energy use can be monitored and controlled in real time.
LG CNS is working on constructing a solar power generation plant in Korea. Park Jin-gook, director of the firm`s public business unit, said, "Renewable energy requires more efficient management of various related facilities, meaning application of information technology is crucial."
Reflecting growing interest in reserve power, many companies including LG CNS and POSCO ICT have launched "energy storage system" that enables storing reserve night power to use it in peak hours.
Hong Won-ki, head of KT Advanced Institute of Technology, said, "It is important to connect ICT and energy technology to lessen the burden of rising energy prices on companies," adding, "Related companies in Korea are expected to display high earnings growth since global demand is also expanding."