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Korea unprepared for power outages

Thu, 06/26/2014 - 12:14 -- Laura Varriale
Chae Kyu-mun, Schneider Electric executive Korea

Power supplier Schneider Electric has warned that South Korea lacks of equipment to cope with power cuts.

A nationwide survey on behalf of Schneider Electric has shown that only 40% of over 1,400 asked organisations, including hospitals and data centres, have uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) installed.

"We've seen many power supply issues. Local industries are still passive (in this area). As summer is approaching, risks over possible blackouts are growing", said Chae Kyu-mun, executive at Schneider Electric Korea.

Chae urged the country to reduce power consumption and to deploy automated UPS to counter blackouts as chronic power shortages in the summer increase the demand of back-up power.

According to Schneider Electric, local industries are not implementing energy-saving regulations entirely. Hospitals have started to introduce UPS systems, Chae stated and added: "Especially in hospital and transportation industries, UPS is crucial as even a brief power cut could cause great damage."

In 2011, power cuts across the whole country during an unseasonable heat wave caused a public uproar forcing the head of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Choi Jung-gyeong, to resign.

The total market for UPS in Korea is estimated at $490m, with Schneider holding a 30% share.

New battery plant in South Korea

Fri, 07/20/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

A plant to make components for lithium-ion batteries is to be built in South Korea by Belgian company Umicore. 

The high-tech recycler and specialist materials maker will double its capacity of the product as it expands into the market.  The plant should be operational in 2014 to make parts for rechargeable batteries.

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Japan losing out in the supply chain game

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 18:02 -- Ruth Williams

Japan is losing out to Chinese and South Korean competitors in supplying lithium-ion battery components around the world. In the 2011 financial year Japan supplied less than half of these key parts.

Global shipments of cathode and anode materials, separators and electrolytes are estimated to have grown 11.2% to US$70.2 million last fiscal year. Japanese firms' share fell 5.7% points to 46.6%, dipping below the 50% mark for the first time since 2008.

The Japanese Yano Research Institute believes Japan’s dominance was weakened following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that halted the supply of some essential parts around the country. This, combined with the strong yen cutting into Japan’s competitiveness, meant a demand for cheaper materials grew.  Another factor is the shift in South Korean battery manufacturers to use domestically made parts over imports.



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