“The sun, air, and water are indispensable elements of our lives, yet their value often goes unrecognized. In Jeju, wind is frequently blamed for storms and rain damage, but Korea Leading Energy Management regards wind as a precious resource and envisions it as Jeju's future energy source. The company is poised to represent Korea in the wind power industry. In addition to providing wind power generation services, we also operate specialized maintenance vessels for offshore wind turbines.”
Bu Jeonghwan, CEO of Korea Leading Energy Management
Wind Power: A Beacon of Renewable Energy
in the Era of Carbon Reduction
The impending end of finite fossil fuels heralds the dawn of renewable energy, including solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, hydropower, marine, and bioenergy. Wind power generation, in particular, stands at the forefront. While each renewable energy sector has worked diligently to establish its domain, it is now time to enhance competitiveness in the global energy landscape. Korea Leading Energy Management (KLEM) is a comprehensive energy solutions company that offers consulting, installation, and construction of power generation facilities, electricity transmission grid work, generator commissioning, and maintenance services for renewable energy generation projects.
Q As one drives along the coastal road of Jeju, the sight of majestic wind turbines gracefully turning in the breeze has become an iconic image of the island. What role does KLEM play in the wind power generation industry?
KLEM emphasizes the wind power generation sector, which is currently one of the most pivotal renewable energy ventures. Except for manufacturing main components like turbines, KLEM provides services in consulting, installation, operation, and management related to wind power generation, as implied by its name, "Korea Leading Energy Management." This industry is intricate, with interconnectivity among various sectors, from turbines, the core components converting wind or solar energy to electricity, to large-scale generation equipment and site development. This necessitates the continuous operation of power generation facilities.
KLEM's core strategy revolves around establishing a sustainable knowledge-based infrastructure through technological innovation, leveraging its theoretical and practical proficiency in the field of wind power generation. Since its inception in 2010, KLEM has honed technical expertise in diverse wind power generation systems operational across Korea for thirteen years. Our services extend not only to the Jeju region but also encompass Gangwon and Jeolla provinces.
Q While wind power generation is evidently a green energy source for the planet, fitting for the low-carbon era, I have heard of initial project challenges, including concerns and opposition from local residents regarding the operation of large turbines near their homes.
One of KLEM's strengths lies in its expertise in project consulting, a crucial requirement to launch related enterprises. These projects require meticulous review of the Electricity Business Act, environmental assessments, on-site inspections, local acceptance, and licensing, among others. Personally, I spent over a decade in the energy division at the Jeju Provincial Government and have been immersed in the industry since 1998, focusing on the wind power generation sector. Jeju Province, utilizing the precious resource of wind to generate secure and clean energy while curbing carbon emissions, is actively implementing a public-driven wind power generation policy and conducting profit-sharing projects.
Wherever There is Wind,
Offshore Wind Power Generation Follows
While wind power is a clean energy source, wind farm construction has led to conflicts with local residents and environmental groups. As a solution to these issues, the offshore wind power generation market is rapidly growing not only in Korea but also internationally, including China, the UK, the US, Germany, and Taiwan. Accordingly, KLEM is also expanding its business scope in line with the boom in offshore wind power generation.
Q What role does KLEM's new growth engine, the offshore wind turbine maintenance vessel, play?
Constructed over three years from 2012, the KLEM vessel is Korea's inaugural dedicated maintenance vessel for offshore wind turbines. Accessing turbines at sea demands swiftness, coupled with careful considerations for worker safety during berthing and transportation of maintenance equipment and materials. From the design phase, KLEM conducts numerical analyses and tests using model ships, mindful of cabin design for worker convenience and bow fenders to enhance safety. We opted for a water jet system rather than a propeller system to ensure swift movement and safe berthing during operations. In addition to the maintenance vessel, KLEM has also succeeded in localizing the maintenance system for wind turbine blades and towers. We are evolving into a specialized company in wind power services, equipped not only with specialized personnel but also essential equipment. Currently, we are constructing a larger maintenance vessel in line with the burgeoning offshore wind industry, so please look forward to it.
Harnessing Jeju's Wind for Cleaner Energy
KLEM's comprehensive operational and service capabilities in renewable energy industries such as wind and solar energy are orchestrated by field experts who deeply understand Jeju and its winds. By collaborating with a specialized training institution for talent development and a system developer, KLEM has solidified its position as a Jeju-based company equipped with practical industry experience.
Q Please introduce the total energy solution KLEM provides and explain its operations.
Since our establishment in 2010, KLEM has been staffed with experts possessing fundamental knowledge in power generation, bolstering our on-site capabilities. We've also focused on manualizing maintenance for wind power generation systems. Through our internal training system, we cultivate professionals with top-tier technical skills. Wind turbines require complete replacement every 20 to 25 years after initial installation, alongside regular maintenance and management. KLEM possesses tailored management systems for local and international manufacturers, addressing challenges faced in the field. We not only handle routine management but also engage in repowering for aging power generation facilities, as well as installation and construction of power generation equipment and grid work for power distribution. Currently, we are undertaking the 154kV onshore electrical work and substation construction for Hanlim Offshore Wind, marking the first project of its kind for a Jeju-based company.
Q Following the construction of wind farms, consistent management, and maintenance are imperative for stable energy production. Could you share other achievements of KLEM as well?
In 2014, we undertook the dismantling of a 660kW wind turbine, which was originally installed in 2000 but subsequently lay unused at Jeju National University. We overhauled it to perform on par with a new wind turbine, reinstalled it, and have successfully operated it until 2022. With extensive experience in wind turbine maintenance, we achieved outstanding results. Today, working with varying turbine manufacturers and models, we consistently maintain a maximum operational rate of over 99% at the power generation sites we operate, thanks to our accumulated knowledge and technology.
A Total Energy Solution Provider Taking Off in Jeju
Everyone harbors both great expectations and apprehensions for an uncertain future. Renewable energy, expected to enrich our lives, is the ultimate solution for mutual prosperity between businesses and individuals, and nature and humans. We asked what's next for KLEM, which is setting the standard for the overall operation and services in the wind power industry.
Q The renewable energy industry appears to require a comprehensive solution, encompassing operation and maintenance, for sustained energy generation. How is KLEM preparing for this?
Korea is undoubtedly a latecomer in the wind power industry compared to other advanced nations. However, leveraging strengths in shipbuilding and offshore plant industries, I am confident that the offshore wind power sector will emerge as a new growth driver for Korea. This substantiates why KLEM is directing its focus towards the operation of maintenance vessels for offshore wind turbines. To support this endeavor, we undergo training at an overseas technology center to secure technical expertise and collaborate with a local university on a talent development project. The operational technology in the energy industry that we acquire in this manner acts as a catalyst for enhancing the technical skills of all employees through in-house technical seminars and work-study programs. Recently, we provided scholarships at the Engineering College of Jeju National University and proposed employment opportunities for outstanding graduates. Beginning with six employees, KLEM has now grown to over 90 employees. We will persist in growing as a value-driven renewable energy business that attracts talent, even from the mainland.
Q What is the goal of KLEM, a Jeju native company utilizing Jeju's wind as a growth engine?
While the ultimate aim of a business is profit, KLEM aspires to be a company that shares social responsibilities and becomes indispensable to society. As we harness the local wind resource, we take pride in knowing that KLEM's technology is contributing to the establishment of a self-sustaining energy foundation in the region. From operating an in-house training center, aimed at bolstering expertise, to cultivating a technology-based operating system, expanding business areas using developed equipment, fulfilling our corporate social responsibility, and promoting information sharing and building capacity with local and international organizations to become a global enterprise, we will unwaveringly continue to make innovative efforts.