Younghoon David Kim

Chair, World Energy Council 2016 - 2019

[Deutsche Welle] Deasung Group: No transition to renewables overnight

Posted on 22 01 2020

[Deutsche Welle - January 21, 2020]




Deasung Group: No transition to renewables overnight






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While renewables are on the rise globally, the CEO of South Korean energy conglomerate Daesung Group, Younghoon Kim, tells DW that phasing out fossil fuels across Asia will take longer than many people hope for.

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[Yonhap News] Ex-WEC chair says S. Korea can become key player in future energy market

Posted on 18 11 2019



Ex-WEC chair says S. Korea can become key player in future energy market




By Joo Kyung-don


SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- In the past, those with resources and money were considered the majors in the energy market, but Younghoon David Kim, former chief of the World Energy Council (WEC), believes that power will shift to those with technologies in the future and that South Korea is in a great position to become one of the leaders.


With the global energy market moving towards the "3Ds" -- decarbonization, decentralization and digitalization -- Kim, the first South Korean to led the WEC, said South Korea's technological prowess in information and communication and battery technologies offer a great opportunity.


"People now say energy efficiency is the '5th energy source' in addition to coal, hydrocarbons, nuclear and renewable energy," Kim said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency. "Digitalization is linked with energy efficiency. I believe South Korea can further play a big role in this segment with its technologies."




In this photo provided by Daesung Group, former World Energy Council Chair Younghoon David Kim speaks in an interview with Yonhap News Agency at his office in Seoul on Nov. 14, 2019. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)




This photo provided by Daesung Group shows Younghoon David Kim (R), then the World Energy Council chair, attending an event at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi on September 11, 2019. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (YONHAP)



In particular, Kim said the rise of renewable energies, such as solar and wind, bodes well for South Korea.


"You can't control solar and wind, and that brings a problem of intermittency," he said. "In order to secure a stable power supply from renewables, you need energy storage systems, which South Korean companies are good at."


Kim acknowledged that competition with Japanese and Chinese rivals is tough, but there should be no big concern for the country, as South Korean energy storage systems (ESS) firms like LG Chem Ltd., Samsung SDI Co. and SK Innovation Co. are well-positioned as top-tier players.


"I think they really selected their future business items well," he said. "I think ESS will become South Korea's cash cow in the future, like semiconductors and smartphones are these days."


Kim completed his three-year term at the WEC, a U.N.-accredited global energy body with more than 3,000 member organizations in over 90 countries, in September. He now serves as the WEC's honorary chair.


"It was a happy ending," Kim said of completing his WEC chair job. "In the meantime, I would also say it's a wonderful beginning."


Kim said one of his biggest achievements at the WEC was giving the energy body a new vision. Instead of focusing on energy security topics based on fossil fuels, the London-based non-profit organization now tries to find solutions for a better future with innovative technologies, according to the 67-year-old businessman.


"I had to change almost everything after I became the chair" he said. "Of course, it wasn't an easy job, but what's important is that officials there eventually accepted my vision and plan."


Asked about how his Daesung Group is preparing for the future energy market, Kim mentioned white biotechnology -- using microbes and enzymes to produce chemical products and biofuels. Kim has been leading the mid-size energy conglomerate since 2001.


According to industry data, the global white biotechnology market was estimated at $238.9 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $472.3 billion by 2025.


"I believe microbes will be an important power source within 50 years," Kim said. "Of course, we need more efforts to commercialize and mass-produce microbial energy, but we made a good take-off for the market."




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[Korea JoongAng Daily] The need for efficient energy use

Posted on 24 10 2019



The need for efficient energy use





Younghoon David Kim
The author is the honorary chairman of the London-based World Energy Council and chairman and CEO of Daesung Group.





If, as scientists say, the world has been hotting up in recent decades, then the debate about the consequences and the need for drastic action has reached a boiling point this year.



Greta Thunberg, the teenage activist who launched the youthful “school strike for climate” protest, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and the group Extinction Rebellion has been grabbing headlines with civil disobedience stunts in Britain and elsewhere designed to pressure governments in advanced countries.



As we have known for some time now, to mitigate climate change, countries must drastically reduce carbon pollution by the middle of the century. But it seems that the political will is lacking in many countries to make carbon reduction the priority in energy policy. Much is being done, but it is too little and being done too slowly.



That’s the bad news. The good news is that it is possible to reduce the amount of energy used simply by making some changes that will not reduce the heat, light and other services we obtain from it. Furthermore, in doing so, we can cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as half. In the United States, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (Aceee) says that the United States could save $730 billion in energy costs by 2050 with policies to reduce energy waste from buildings, factories, vehicles and appliances.



This means that, even before we consider giving up all fossil fuels, air travel and meat eating, energy efficiency can go a long way to solving the problem.



This claim is supported by the forward-looking “World Energy Scenarios 2019” study produced by the World Energy Council. It shows that energy efficiency gains are critical to the management of energy demand.



This is very significant for Korea where we consume energy at far higher rates than other similar-sized countries. Our primary energy use and per capita energy use, for example, is 20 to 30 percent higher than that of Germany, France or Japan. It is more than double that of Britain, Spain and Italy. To look at this in another way, our energy consumption per unit of GDP (usually $1,000) is more than twice the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development average. Further, while most OECD countries are “decoupling” in the sense that their energy use is declining as their economies grow, Korea’s energy use is increasing.



According to the Aceee report, almost half of the forecast reduction in emissions could be achieved if we were to make transport more fuel efficient. Similarly, energy efficiency in buildings and in the industrial sector could account for one-third and one-fifth of reductions respectively. These estimates apply to the United States, but we could expect a similar breakdown for Korea.



And energy efficiency itself could result in other significant benefits, such as job creation, cleaner air and improved health.



The idea of energy efficiency has been around for some time, but what does it mean in practice? First, there would need to be an accelerated transition in transport to electric vehicles along with improved fuel economy, more efficient aircraft and so on. Savings in buildings would result from smart control technologies, refitting of buildings to reduce energy waste, energy efficient new buildings and rigorous new standards for appliances. The encouraging part of this picture is that the technologies to make it happen are here already and are affordable.



None of this will work, however, without the willingness of governments to implement the appropriate policies. Government already views energy efficiency as desirable and seeks to nudge industry and consumers into energy-saving habits. But this is not enough. The problem with energy efficiency is that it is seen as a negative concept — in the sense that it involves the non-use of energy. In fact, it should be seen as a positive. Countries should conceive of efficiency as the “first energy resource” before investing in other energy resources and related infrastructure. They should also plan policies and measures around annual efficiency targets and ensure that laws are enforced and standards kept.



For example, governments could develop optimum efficiency standards for appliances and codes for buildings, as well as provide funding and other incentives for upgrading existing buildings. At the same time, governments should invest in electric options wherever possible in industry, in buildings and in transport. Governments should also keep providing support for research and development into smart and affordable technology that can reduce energy waste.



Of course, in one way or another, most countries are moving in this direction. Or, if they are not, their upcoming leaders are aware of the needs. But, as the protesters now so vociferously point out, not enough is being done. Energy efficiency can help dislodge this political lack of will for it helps frame the action in a way that is hard to argue with.



Of course, some of the necessary steps will be challenging. But the human race is hardly a stranger to challenges.



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[Arirang TV] Heart to Heart WEC Chair David Kim Young-hoon

Posted on 25 09 2019


[Heart to Heart]



WEC Chair David Kim Young-hoon





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Bringing together 90 member countries and 3,000 public and private bodies, the World Energy Council is a global energy network that delivers actions required for the "worldwide energy transition."


For the last 3 years, David Kim Young-hoon, chairman and CEO of Daesung Group, has led the global energy industry as chair of the World Energy Council. Daesung Group has accumulated practice and expertise in the energy sector for the last 70 years or so since its founding in 1947. Hence, Daesung Group is now one of the top energy companies in Korea.


David Kim Young-hoon has shared his insights with the world as Korea's leading expert in the energy industry. We meet with David Kim Young-hoon, chairman and CEO of Daesung Group, on today's Heart-to-Heart.

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[Xinhua] Global energy industry in transition to knowledge-based one: WEC chair

Posted on 28 08 2019


Global energy industry in transition to knowledge-based one: WEC chair




SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- The global energy industry was currently in a transition to a knowledge-based one mixed with the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, World Energy Council (WEC) chair said Wednesday.


WEC Chair Younghoon David Kim told a meeting with foreign correspondents in Seoul that the global energy sector had moved from the resource-based one, where oil exporting countries dominated the most, to the capital-intensive one.


Kim said the energy sector was currently in a transition to the knowledge-based one, where a county with advanced energy technologies can dominate without energy resources such as crude oil and natural gas.


Under the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, energy efficiency could be enhanced exponentially, for example through the convergence between electronic devices and artificial intelligence (AI), which automatically controls temperature at home with a machine-learning solution.


Microbes can be used to create clean energy and raise prosperity, Kim said, citing the radiation-eating bacteria, an extremophile that can survive cold, dehydration and vacuum while eating nuclear waste.


Kim said a variety of microbes had been found such as the ones creating electron and hydrogen.


However, commercializing the microbes as energy sources may take time as it requires technological breakthroughs.


Kim took office as WEC chair three years ago. The 24th triennial World Energy Congress will be held in September in Abu Dhabi under the theme of "Energy for Prosperity". It expected to attract about 10,000 delegates from around 150 countries.


The WEC was launched in 1923 in the name of World Power Conference to rebuild the war-torn electricity networks at the post-WWI Europe, led by electricity engineers from 24 countries. It renamed it the current WEC in 1989.


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[The Korea Times] Microbes key to solving energy problems

Posted on 25 06 2019



Microbes key to solving energy problems




Younghoon David Kim, center, chairman and CEO of Daesung Group and chairma of the World Energy Council, and other participants discuss future possibilities of using micro biotechnology as a new energy source during The Korea Times roundtable discussion at the Westin Chosun Seoul hotel, June 21. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul




By Baek Byung-yeul


"White" biotechnology can provide an alternative to fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions, amid growing public concerns about global warming and other environmental challenges, according to the chairman of Daesung Group.


Younghoon David Kim, who heads the mid-tier energy conglomerate, said white biotechnology, which refers to using microbial cells and their enzymes to produce eco-friendly chemical products, biofuels, pharmaceutical products, foods and other materials, has emerged as a key to address environmental issues.


On June 21, Kim and other energy experts in chemical engineering and microbiology gathered for The Korea Times roundtable discussion. Under the subject of "the promise of harvesting energy from microbes," they shared their knowledge, vision and policy to find ways to further use microbes as energy sources.


The chairman said white biotechnology can also be an answer to renewable energy, which cannot be effectively utilized before appropriate energy storage technology is developed because it is dependent on intermittent power sources such as wind and solar.


"Despite all the good things, renewable energy, which covers the shortfalls of fossil fuels, has the serious problem of the intermittent nature. The dilemma is energy storage is not recyclable and is concentrated on very certain locations," Kim said during the discussion session at the Westin Chosun Seoul hotel.


"Renewable energy also has safety problems because we have seen a lot of explosions in storages. So we have to go for other alternatives, an alternative for the alternative. That is why I am very serious about microbial energy."


Kim, who also chairs the London-based World Energy Council, has held the Daesung Haegang Microbes Forum annually in the belief that the future of energy and the environment is in the biotechnology.




Experts in chemical engineering and microbiology pose before the start of The Korea Times roundtable discussion at the Westin Chosun Seoul hotel, June 21. From left are Derek Lovley, a professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst; Younghoon David Kim, chairman and CEO of Daesung Group; Kristala Prather, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Oh Young-jin, digital managing editor of The Korea Times; and Park Sung-hoon, a professor at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology. / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul


During this year's forum on June 20, Kim emphasized the need for close cooperation between the private and academic sectors and government support to ensure that microbial technologies can become another option for the current administration's anti-nuclear policy.


Kim has been actively engaged in the white biotechnology industry here for more than a decade. Since 2006, Daesung Eco-Energy, a Daesung Group affiliate, has been extracting gas from its landfill gas-to-energy plant in Daegu. On an annual basis, Daesung collects about 50 million cubic meters of gas which is used as boiler fuel for 15,000 households.


As the country's leading solution provider, Kim also revealed that he plans to expand the white biotechnology business in cooperation with companies specialized in the area.


"In cooperation with German-based EnviTec Biogas, we plan to go together into countries like Vietnam and Colombia. We would like to use the two countries as outposts to get into huge emerging markets in South America and Southeast Asia," Kim said.


"Daesung is a traditional producer of methane gas and distributor and EnviTec Biogas has technology for cooking microbes. I think there is a huge blue ocean before us."


The global white biotechnology market is estimated at $238.9 billion in 2017, according to industry data, and expected to grow to $472.3 billion by 2025 with an average annual growth rate of 8.9 percent.


Despite its huge potential, however, experts joining the roundtable said there should be more investments in white biotechnology from the private sector.


"There are still some challenges in demonstrating biological solutions at scale. I think most of the public think they have to do something about climate change and greenhouse gasses and we, scientists, have a lot of ideas but some of them are proving them at large scale but others are not," said Kristala Prather, a chemical engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, adding there needs to be more investment in testing out all possibilities of white biotechnology.


Derek Lovley, a professor at University of Massachusetts Amherst, also urged the private sector to expand spending on white biotechnology.


"It is a unique new area to open new possibilities in the energy field because the input energy has no toxic materials and no metals compared to traditional energy. However there should be more investment to develop this technology," Lovley said.




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[World Energy News] Does the Answer to Our Energy Problems Lie in Tiny Microbes?

Posted on 25 06 2019



Does the Answer to Our Energy Problems Lie in Tiny Microbes?




By Younghoon David Kim

Such are the dire predictions about climate change these days that there seem to be only two courses open for human society: either we fail to act and the planet keeps heating up, or we restrict ourselves, leave our cars at home, give up hamburgers and stop flying on vacation.


Either way, it would seem, the future is dead set on making our children’s lives worse than ours.


But there is a third way and it lies in new forms of energy. One of the most promising involves the use of microorganisms to generate electricity.


The research in this field is very exciting and is starting to yield fruit.


But there is a problem and it’s one you quickly stumble over if you Google “microbial energy” and throw in words like “revolution,” “significance,” and “exciting.” It’s that it’s hard to figure what it’s all about, let alone that it is important.


To take a random example – and no offence to the authors of this one – what would you make of a paper with this title: “Utilizing anaerobic fungi for two-stage sugar extraction and biofuel production from lignocellulosic biomass”?


Unfortunately, most of the discussion around the topic, at this stage at least, is of this sort. It’s no wonder that those of us schooled in language, literature and the arts find it easier to predict doom and gloom.


All I can say is, if you want to delve into this subject, is, be warned. But if you persevere, prepare to be inspired.


Here is the idea. A microbe is a microscopic organism. We tend to associate it with bacteria and viruses, and with diseases for which there is no cure. But microbes are everywhere and they perform a crucial role maintaining life, fixing gases and breaking down dead plant and animal matter into simpler substances.


When they eat organic matter, microbes produce a different type of organic matter which they use to generate their own energy, but which can be harvested as fuel or oil-related products.


How would you do this? Picture, if you will, an oil refinery. These are big. Crude oil is put in them and heated in a distilling process that produces both fuel and plastics and other products. In a similar way, such refineries could be used as microbial cell factories to produce fuel and oil products. (Interestingly, these can make bio-plastics which, unlike the plastic we use today, is degradable.)


The idea behind this is not new. In fact, penicillin has been produced through this process since World War Two. So has citric acid, which is used in soft drinks.


Although sugar has been used as the food to grow microbes, scientists are now looking to use food waste, industrial waste and gasses in its place.


As researchers and businesses look to commercialize this process, one of the most encouraging advantages they see is that, as a form of energy, microbial energy will not require a wholesale and costly transformation of infrastructure. Use of microbes, in fact, will mean a re-boot of the oil industry, the difference being that companies would manufacture oil instead of extracting it from underground. In other words, it’s alternative energy only in the sense that it’s an alternative way to produce the same product.


When energy futurists consider this, they don’t see an either-or. Rather, they see things, as we have today, in terms of an energy mix, which may vary from place to place, country to country. It would involve current forms of energy being produced in this sustainable new way, alongside alternative forms, such as hydrogen.


That means, 30 or 50 years from now, you might have solar panels on your roof to light and heat the house and your own microbial tank in the back yard, producing oil and chemicals. Each home in this way will be economically and environmentally sustainable.


There is even research now into the possibility of putting microbial fuel cells into bricks that will allow a house to treat its own waste and generate energy.


With such ideas poised to come to market, perhaps we should not be painting such a dismal view of the future.


The Author
Younghoon David Kim
is the chairman of the London-based World Energy Council

and chairman and CEO in Korea of the Daesung Group.

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[Korea Joongang Daily] Solutions waiting to be discovered

Posted on 20 06 2019


Solutions waiting to be discovered



The National Council on Climate and Air Quality, the body created under the leadership of former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, held its second meeting earlier this month to chart its path in tackling the problem of fine dust.


The organization, formed as a presidential initiative, has environmental, social and diplomatic components to its mission. I have found that many council members agree that science and technology should be integral to their approach to the issue. This is encouraging because it seems to me that sustainable solutions lie in science and technology which can support significant and drastic change in policy.


Many aspects can be addressed with existing technology — we can cause clouds to rain, we can limit and monitor power plants and major polluters, we can make better face masks — but the core question of how we technologically digest pollutants and maintain the benefits of the industrial production that produces them remains undiscovered.


The committee is, you could say, like the blind men in the Korean folk tale of Simcheong, the peasant girl who becomes an empress and holds the banquet to find her blind father again. We know the solution must be out there, somebody must be working on the technology, but what do we have to do to ensure that we find it?


This is not a fanciful question. The solution to this question will be meaningful not just for the spluttering residents of the Korean Peninsula. It will be technology with global significance, for while more countries may be responsible than others for pollution, its impact does not respect borders.


Given this significance, I am guessing that our question will not be answered with familiar inventiveness. A new engine, a new app will not be enough. We somehow need the equivalent in reality of a million little Pacmans flying out to munch up the airborne dirt.


It is my hunch that we are looking for a gamechanger along the lines of the Nikolai Tesla’s design of alternating-current electricity supply system including his invention of the A/C induction motor, which historians say marked the beginning of the second Industrial Revolution. Tesla’s contribution came in the context of his “war of the currents” waged in the 1880s with another genius, his employer, Thomas Edison. Rejecting Tesla’s idea, Edison favored his own direct-current (DC) electric power.


Tesla also challenged Edison’s revenue model of power plants for each district of New York City because his A/C system made long distance power transmission possible. As a result, Edison fired him.


Tesla’s A/C generator powered the Chicago Expo and went on to power the whole world after that. Had Tesla’s idea been completely dismissed, we would have had the nightmare scenario of extreme smog and particulate pollutants in mega cities all over the world even sooner. As it was, Tesla’s inventions became the backbone of modern power and communication systems.


If we want to be strict about our definitions, we are still living in this Tesla-inspired second Industrial Revolution era because our computers and AI are still powered in the same way.


To give an idea of what we are looking for to solve our fine dust catastrophe, we are in effect waiting for our contemporary Tesla to step forward and kickstart the next industrial revolution with a new form of energy that will not just be clean, and not just be as good as the energy we have now, but better on a revolutionary scale. (With all due respect to modern usage, from this point of view, we haven’t entered the third industrial revolution yet, let alone the fourth).


Given that the council under Secretary General Ban is not itself a research body, the question then becomes how it may create the necessary structure to ensure that the solutions which may be out there will be found?


This would seem to require a unified approach that encompasses both technology track and a policy track. The argument here is that no matter how good a policy appears to be, without the support of advanced and appropriate technology no policy will stand.


In fact, it could end up causing more trouble. Similarly, without investment to commercialize it and policy to back its use, technology remains academic.


To this end, the committee needs to encourage the participation of global experts in relevant technologies in order to create a synergy with policy to find solutions. It needs to benchmark on the technological, scientific and policy levels the successful solutions to fine dust like those found in London, Los Angeles, Singapore and Beijing.


In this way, our hope is that Korea may lay the groundwork for a miracle. Just as Simcheong’s father’s sight was miraculously recovered when they reunited at the banquet, so we may create a grand forum for scientific experts, investors and policymakers to come together and find a solution that will benefit all of mankind.



Younghoon David Kim


The author is the chairman of the London-based World Energy Council and chairman and CEO in Korea of the Daesung Group. He is a member of the National Council on Climate and Air Quality.

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[The Korea Times] Has Fourth Industrial Revolution really arrived?

Posted on 10 05 2019


Has Fourth Industrial Revolution really arrived?




By Younghoon David Kim


Everywhere we turn these days, it seems, people are talking about the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
There is no doubt that developments in artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, big data, and bio-technology are revolutionary, but what exactly do we mean when we say this? The word "revolution," after all, is rather like "war" - overuse has watered down its meaning.


If we apply the term more strictly and ask, what makes an industrial revolution revolutionary, we can see that there is an important component missing in this Fourth Industrial Revolution. I wonder if it's not a revolution-in-waiting, rather like a brand-new racecar that hasn't been fueled up yet.


Here is the argument. The First Industrial Revolution transformed how we made things. People stopped making things by hand and horsepower and started making them instead by marvelous new machines that were powered by water and steam. The Second Industrial Revolution happened when electrification replaced steam and inventors developed even more marvelous new machines to make things.


What happened in both cases was that manufacturers were able to create products of a type and on a scale previously unthought of. The impact on the countries where they operated was transformative.


These two revolutions in a matter of decades began lifting human beings out of poverty on a scale that, with the rise of China and India, is now giving us a vision of a middle-class world. When I was born, my country was one of the poorest in the world.


Now, as a Second Industrial Revolution powerhouse, it is one of the wealthiest. The changes wrought are so complete that it's not until there's a prolonged power failure, when the production lines stop, the traffic lights fail and the candles and blankets come out, that we remember where we came from. And it feels like 500 B.C.


So, what factors lay behind these revolutions? From these first two cases, it is apparent that an industrial revolution that causes fundamental economic change involves the wedding of technology with a new system of energy.


That was how the writer Jeremy Rifkin put it in his 2011 book, "The Third Industrial Revolution; How Lateral Power is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World." The new energy regime he had in mind was renewable energy.


But, hold on. When people talk about the Third Industrial Revolution, they are referring to the arrival of the computer. There is no new system of energy. Renewable energy is not all that it is cracked up to be.


Not only has it not replaced those polluting fossil fuels, but alternative energy in fact creates a new range of problems, or, to be more accurate, a different version of the old problems. It, for example, requires storage because the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow. Storage is by batteries, which require lithium, which must be mined. And the batteries must be disposed of. And so on.


So, I would argue that this so-called third revolution is in technology only. It is a development - and a fantastic one, of course - but conceptually, it is a continuation of the revolution that was fueled by electric power, the Second Industrial Revolution.


Similarly, the changes coming with AI and robots - the Fourth Industrial Revolution - are also technological. There is no new form of energy.


The point I am making here is that the phenomenal technological changes of the computer era are still driven by the energy that characterized the Second Industrial Revolution. They have not been accompanied by new systems of energy. What we refer to as the Third and Fourth Industrial Revolutions are more actually a deepening and widening of previous revolutionary transformations.


We are still in the Second Industrial Revolution, even if the technology we see now is completely different from that which we saw when it started.


Actually, the next form of energy to fuel the era of AI, is coming, but it is not renewable energy, for the reasons given. What we may expect is a new mode of energy that will provide power that is affordable, accessible and available to all. This could be in fusion or in hydrogen.


One of the most exciting and promising areas for the future of energy is the current research into microbial energy. The concept here is that instead of burning dead fossil material, we derive energy from live microbes. The research in this field is very promising.


Many experts are now working in this post-renewable energy field.


If the energy sector gets really serious about innovation and brings about breakthrough technologies, then it will truly mean revolution in the style of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions.


Those breakthroughs, wedded with biotech, AI and IoT, will characterize the next true Industrial Revolution.

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[World Energy News] Russian Pipeline: Bringing Gas and Building Trust

Posted on 03 05 2019



Russian Pipeline: Bringing Gas and Building Trust


@ alexkich / Adobe Stock



By Younghoon David Kim


A discussion over energy at the summit last week between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has excited the government in South Korea, where the government is desperately looking to entice the North Koreans to come in out of the cold.


Among the topics that came up was access for the North Koreans to Russian electricity supplies and the question of North Korea allowing the Russians to build a pipeline that would ship natural gas from Vladivostok, where the summit was held, through North Korea and across the demilitarized zone to sell to the South Koreans.


While international media articulate US concerns that these topics plus Putin offer to help break the nuclear deadlock with the US over North Korea’s nuclear weapons might be code for sanctions-busting, in South Korea the Russian contribution is being seen as helpful.


The gas pipeline project is especially significant as the idea has been around for a quarter-century but until now blocked by politics. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Putin have already agreed to start joint feasibility studies.


The flow of Russian gas overland through North Korea to South Korea could be a flagship project of inter-Korean cooperation. But it could also be even more significant. It is possible the pipeline could represent the first small step towards eventual regional East Asian economic integration.


The argument to that conclusion is quite simple. Until now, this project has not gone ahead because of politics. When it came up a generation ago following the state visit of then president Kim Dae-jung to Russia, the government of North Korea at that time could not ideologically justify welcoming outside experts to visit North Korea for a feasibility study on its territory and the pipeline died a natural death.


But times are changing. If the age of ideological confrontation on the Korean peninsula is ending, as we hope it is, all players will be motivated by their respective national self-interest.


What are those interests? Consider first the three main players – Russia, and North and South Korea.


Russia wants the pipeline because it is looking to diversify its gas markets from Europe to Asia. It aims by 2030 to be selling 25% of its natural gas to Asia.


South Korea takes 1.5 million tons of Sakhalin gas a year now and this could increase to 7 million with a pipeline. This will allow Seoul to reduce dependency on current suppliers. Another attraction is that piped gas is cheaper than LNG, which has to be liquefied, shipped and then re-gasified at importing terminals.


As for North Korea, once the pipeline is built, it would be able to charge transit fees. These could be around $150 million a year.


Consider also the interests of the other concerned regional powers.


They, too, could benefit, albeit less directly. It is possible, for example, that Japan might be interested in an extension of the pipeline, from Busan under the sea to Kyushu and even to Honshu.


For its part, China is looking for energy security. It now gets its gas from Turkmenistan to the west and Siberia to the north. Were the trans-Korean pipeline to be extended under the sea to China, it would receive gas from the east, so to speak.


That all said, there is another issue in the way – beside the denuclearization of North Korea, of course – and that is the geo-political standoff between the United States and Russia. Contrary to the general assumption that the gas pipeline will proceed as soon as the relationship between North and South Korean improves, based on a reliable denuclearization scheme, the U.S. still might be unhappy because the project would raise Russia’s political and economic clout in the Far East.


On the plus side, it is possible the US could benefit economically, if it were able to ship gas from Alaska to Korea’s east coast and feed it into the East Asian loop of the gas network.


If North Korea is serious about denuclearizing and if an improvement of relations between Washington and Moscow is on the cards, things may move forward.


With the right leadership, the cooperation and investment required to create the infrastructure to feed gas into the grids of China, Japan and South Korea, with add-ins from the United States, could form the basis for East Asian economic integration that would eventually reshape our region.


The longer-term vision for the United States should be of a Northeast Asia that operates on free market and democratic values. Such a region would be an economic powerhouse and the United States would naturally be a key member.


As a preliminary step bringing North Korea in out of the cold and as part of a broader gas grid delivering energy to the region, the pipeline moves the region in the direction of future economic integration. The United States should be on the right side of such a positive initiative from the outset.



The Author




Younghoon David Kim is the chairman of the London-based World Energy Council

and chairman and CEO of the Daesung Group.

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[The Korea Times] Appropriate technology energy solutions: When small is beautiful

Posted on 18 04 2019


Appropriate technology energy solutions:

When small is beautiful




By Younghoon David Kim


Energy is so fundamental to the functioning of modern states that it tends to be developed and delivered on a grand scale, at great cost to people, companies and governments.


This is news to nobody. In addition to their monthly household energy bills, which in Korea can be alarmingly high, taxpayers in most countries pay a huge indirect amount towards energy in that their tax money funds infrastructure and the bureaucracy around energy management.


But not all solutions to energy problems need be grand.


Take, for example, the idea of extracting gas from landfill sites. Or small-scale use of solar power. Such systems can operate within the national power grid system or outside of it in a way that is cheaper, cleaner and more efficient.


They are examples of the application of what is known as "appropriate technology." This concept has been around for 50 years or so. It has gone under other names and merged in some sense with the more popular notion of sustainability.


When applied to energy, it refers to use of technology that passes what I call the 5As test in that it is affordable, acceptable to the public interest, accountable to all stakeholders, accessible (ie, located in the right place) and available at the right time when it is needed.


Energy systems that pass this test tend to be on a relatively modest scale and on a local level in a way that is independent of outside control and that is at the same time energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable. (A recent development is the provision of technology on open source principles. A lot of open-source appropriate technology plans are freely available online).


Appropriate technology has been used to address issues across the spectrum, from construction, food preparation, and healthcare to the delivery of clean water and efficient lighting. For the past 50 years, it has been primarily identified as a form of local self-help development tin poor rural areas.


And it's been associated with foreign aid, with well-meaning organizations and companies in developed nations arranging for well-meaning volunteers to help out grateful villagers in poorer countries whose governments may not be able to afford the transfer of more large-scale and capital-intensive technology from developed countries.


As an example, my company, Daesung Group, has developed a hybrid wind and solar system called SolaWin, which generates electricity that powers a stand-alone pumping system.


The groundwater pumped has many uses including preventing the spread of desertification, agricultural development, supplying sustainable electricity and clean drinking water thus contributing to a better standard of living in rural communities as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This technology is used at a number of locations in Mongolia, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan, as well as on Santa Cruz Island in Ecuador's Galapagos National Park.


Despite this association with developing countries, there is a definite role for appropriate technology in developed countries. In this case, the concept is more associated with sustainability. It characterizes the use of technology that works on a local level and which minimizes any negative impact on the environment and on society.


Consider, for instance, the greening of landfills and extraction of the gases created by them to provide local power. My own company developed a plan in 2002 for a landfill in Daegu which went operational in 2006 to refine methane. The project now supplies 50 million cubic meters of gas to the Korea District Heating Corporation for use as boiler fuel for approximately 15,000 households.


Not only does this operation make good use of the otherwise unused gas that is available, but it also reduces CO2 emissions and - not small thing - the smell emanating from the dump.


The interesting thing about this project is that while the better known Nanjido landfill in Seoul, near the World Cup Stadium, was greened after the site was no longer used, the Daegu site is still used as a landfill.


In other words, the 1,000 tons a day of trash from the city is put to use to supply energy. In addition, the Daegu project is an excellent example of a public private partnership.


It is also economic. The original investment was the equivalent of $26 million and, at the highest, the net return on the gas sold was in the region of $2 million a year.


Such projects could be repeated all over the country.

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[tbs eFM] THIS MORNING with Alex Jesen

Posted on 20 11 2018




[tbs eFM radio]




with Alex Jesen




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[The Korea Times] Prospects for Northeast Asian energy community

Posted on 21 09 2018


Prospects for Northeast Asian energy community




By Younghoon David Kim


With three inter-Korean summits this year and the possibility that North Korea may denuclearize and come out of the cold, political leaders and energy experts in Seoul and Moscow are blowing the dust off an old plan to build a natural gas pipeline from Vladivostok to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).


Indeed, President Moon Jae-in and Russian President Vladimir Putin have already agreed to start joint feasibility studies.


The flow of Russian gas overland through North Korea to South Korea could be a flagship project of inter-Korean cooperation. But it could also be even more significant. It is possible the pipeline could represent the first small step towards eventual regional East Asian economic integration.


The argument for that conclusion is quite simple. Until now, this project has not gone ahead because of politics.


When it came up a generation ago following the state visit of then President Kim Dae-jung to Russia, the government of North Korea at that time could not ideologically justify welcoming outside experts to visit North Korea for a feasibility study on its territory and the pipeline died a natural death.


But times are changing. If the age of ideological confrontation on the Korean Peninsula is ending, as we hope it is, all players will be motivated by their respective national self-interest.


What are those interests? Consider first the three main players - Russia, and North and South Korea.


Russia wants the pipeline because it is looking to diversify its gas markets from Europe to Asia. It aims by 2030 to be selling 25 percent of its natural gas to Asia.


South Korea takes 1.5 million tons of Sakhalin gas a year now and this could increase to 7 million with a pipeline. This will allow Seoul to reduce dependency on current suppliers. Another attraction is that piped gas is cheaper than LNG, which has to be liquefied, shipped and then re-gasified at importing terminals.


As for North Korea, once the pipeline is built, it would be able to charge transit fees. These could be around $150 million a year.


Consider also the interests of the other concerned regional powers.


They, too, could benefit, albeit less directly. It is possible, for example, that Japan might be interested in an extension of the pipeline, from Busan under the sea to Kyushu and even to Honshu.


China is looking for energy security. It now gets its gas from Turkmenistan to the west and Siberia to the north. Were the trans-Korean pipeline to be extended under the sea to China, it would receive gas from the east, so to speak.


That all said, there is another issue in the way and that is the geopolitical standoff between the United States and Russia. Contrary to the general assumption that the gas pipeline will proceed as soon as the relationship between North and South Korea improves, based on a reliable denuclearization scheme, the U.S. still might be unhappy because the project would raise Russia's political and economic clout in the Far East.


On the plus side, it is possible the U.S. could benefit economically, if it were able to ship gas from Alaska to Korea's east coast and feed it into the East Asian loop of the gas network. But, clearly, the political aspect of the U.S.-Russia relationship is a consideration.


It is possible that the parties involved may iron out the various issues and practical considerations at the next World Energy Congress.


The triennial event of the World Energy Congress is being held next in Abu Dhabi in 2019. Besides North Korea, the concerned countries are active members of the organization. (North Korea was a member and is now expressing interest in rejoining).


As an interesting historical note, the World Energy Council, which is a non-political and non-commercial global forum, was originally formed to rebuild the electricity grid in Europe after World War I. Three decades later, in 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community was established and it later evolved into today's European Union.


In a similar way, with the right leadership, the cooperation and investment required to create the infrastructure to feed gas into the grids of China, Japan and South Korea, with add-ins from the United States, could form the basis for East Asian economic integration that would eventually reshape our region.


Younghoon David Kim is the chairman of the London-based World Energy Council and chairman and CEO of the Daesung Group.

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[Asia Times] Could a pipeline of peace help unite Northeast Asia?

Posted on 12 08 2018



Could a pipeline of peace help unite Northeast Asia?



A trans-Korean gas pipeline from Russia, extending out to China and Japan, could lay the foundation of an East Asian economic community, says World Energy Council head


A gas pipeline would run through North Korea into South Korea and beyond. Photo: iStock



Northeast Asia is home to the heavyweight economies of China, Japan and South Korea, as well as being one of the world’s three largest zones of economic activity.


But unlike the other two – Europe, with the EU, and North America, with NAFTA – it lacks the unifying force of a free-trade area. Moreover, at its heart lies one of the world’s most dangerous security flashpoints: North Korea.


Political solutions have been sought for decades to try to calm intra-regional tensions, but all have failed to deliver. However, a regional, trans-Korean energy initiative could lay the foundation for a Northeast Asian economic community, which would have beneficial knock-on effects on regional geopolitics, according to David Kim, chairman of the World Energy Council, or WEC.


“The Cold War has gone, ideology has gone, all that is left is national interest,” Kim said in an interview with Asia Times. “This project is a symbol: One project can serve everyone.”


The project Kim refers to is a natural gas pipeline pumping power from the island of Sakhalin in the Russian Far East, through North Korea, into South Korea and beyond.


The project, feeding gas into the grids of China, Japan and South Korea, with add-ins from the United States, could create the physical skeleton of an East Asian common market, while offering dollar incentives for North Korea to come out of the cold, Kim asserted.


World Energy Council chairman and Daesung Group CEO and chairman David Kim talking to Asia Times in Seoul on Thursday. Photo: Daesung Group



More than a pipe dream


As Kim envisages it, the pipeline would carry Sakhalin PNG (piped natural gas) through North Korea, across the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ, and into South Korea. The latter has one of the most efficient power distribution nets on earth, thanks to top-down governance, a national power monopoly and small land size.


There are no significant technical challenges. A pipeline already runs from Sakhalin to Vladivostok, and from Vladivostok to the DMZ is just 750 kilometers, meaning the pipeline could be constructed in two to five years, Kim estimates. (For comparison, Gazprom’s 4,000-kilometer “Power of Siberia” pipeline has a four-year construction period.)


Piped gas is intrinsically more economical than LNG, or liquid natural gas, as it does not require infrastructure to liquefy and re-gasify it at ports. Nor does it require expensive LNG tankers to transport. A pipeline would enable an increase in South Korea’s imports of Sakhalin gas from 1.5 million metric tons per year to 7 million, Kim said.


The project is not a new idea. The concept of a trans-Korea gas pipeline, supplied by Russia, first rose to prominence during the Kim Dae-jung administration (1998-2003) under the “Sunshine Policy” which sought to improve inter-Korean relations and open up the isolated North.


It was put to Russia in 1999, when the South Korean president, seeking a summit with then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin, asked local business leaders to come up with ideas, as Yeltsin had been reluctant to agree to any meeting – given that Russian had outstanding debts to South Korea.


“I proposed it be put on the agenda, but it was dismissed – [the project] was too huge,” Kim, who in addition to his elected position at the WEC, is CEO and chairman of South Korea’s energy-focused Daesung Group, recalled. “But then they found out that this was the only project that Russia was interested in.”


Kim accompanied the state visit and a bilateral MOU was signed. “The project saved the summit,” he said.


Then, nothing happened. With the “Sunshine Policy” still in its early days, a suspicious Pyongyang refused to allow teams into the country to carry out a feasibility study.


Further talks took place in 2011, between Russia’s Gazprom and South Korean power monopoly KOGAS. But then, inter-Korean relations were at a nadir: a year earlier, North Korea had torpedoed a South Korean warship and shelled a border island. The project was not politically feasible.


With the liberal Moon Jae-in having taken power in 2016, overturning a decade of right-wing rule in Seoul, possibilities are looking brighter. “Now, we have better relations,” Kim said, referring to the chummy summit in April between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon.


Russia ‘eager to diversify markets’


The project is certainly on the mind of Russian President Vladimir Putin, an aggressive promoter of energy exports with a “look east” policy. “Russia is eager to diversify its markets,” Kim said.


Europe is currently the only major market for Russian gas, though Gazprom’s pipeline to China is expected to come online in 2019. Under Moscow’s 2030 Energy Strategy, Russia seeks to sell 25% of its natural gas to Asia. So it was no surprise that during their summit during this year’s World Cup, Putin and Moon agreed to start joint feasibility studies on the project.


Kim is thinking far beyond simply Russia selling gas to South Korea via North Korea. He sees the pipeline getting ‘buy-in’ from across the region and beyond.


The first and obvious partner is Japan – like South Korea, a net energy importer. Earlier this year, Kim discussed the project with Japan’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, or MITI.


“They showed a strong interest,” he said. The idea would be to extend the pipeline from the southeastern South Korean port city of Busan, underwater, to the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, and then, possibly, to Honshu.


The less obvious partner would be China, which already has a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan in the west, and is building another line from Siberia in the north. “If we extend [the trans-Korean pipeline] to China, via [an] undersea pipe, it would be very tempting for China,” Kim said.


Then there is the US. “I am considering inviting the United States to transport Alaskan gas,” he said. That would be shipped in from the United States, and fed into the network from a port on Korea’s east coast. “They could plug their gas into the East Asian market,” Kim said. “Gas is gas!”


The extension of the pipeline to Japan would primarily be of economic significance.  The energy-thirsty, heavy manufacturing economies of Japan and South Korea rely heavily on shipped-in LNG; piped natural gas would shift the landscape. “We pay an ‘Asian premium’ for LNG,” said Kim, which is estimated at 30%. “If we had PNG, we would have a chance to bargain.”


Looping in China and the US would be economically beneficial, but would also have critical political ramifications that would help move the project forward and secure it against geopolitical risk, Kim believes.


Energy security


China, which seeks energy security, would benefit from diversifying sources of import, Kim said. “China is now buying gas from the west, from Turkmenistan, and [will be] from the north, from Siberia,” Kim said. “For stability, we suggest a loop grid, via [an] undersea pipe.” That would offer China’s massive economy gas from three directions: West, North and East.


In regard to US President Donald Trump’s recent, critical comments in Europe about the EU’s heavy reliance upon Russian energy supply, Kim is hoping that the business-minded president might change his tune if America has the chance to sell gas from Alaska to the venture.


“I think Trump was quite concerned with the Russian connection [in Europe] and might worry about this in East Asia,” he said. “But if we have America in, it’s another story – they would be willing to participate.”


Currently, there seems little reason to fear that North Korean would tap the pipeline for domestic use as its power-generation is primarily coal-based. “North Korea is shackled by its ‘juche’ [self-reliance] philosophy: It does not want to rely on foreign services, it prefers coal resources,” Kim said. “They don’t have natural gas infrastructure at all, they mostly rely on coal. We cannot assume they will use the PNG for their own consumption.”


Moreover, an unprecedented energy net linking the economic interests of all key regional players – China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US – would hedge against the obvious risk, which is: What would stop North Korea, in times of tension, turning off South Korea’s power supply?


The answer is simple. “If North Korea tried to turn off the gas, it would have to answer to too many counterparts,” Kim said.


The proposal is for the pipeline to run down the heavily fortified east coast of North Korea, so there would need to be close coordination with the North Korean military, Kim admitted.


But there is a key incentive for Pyongyang to both join the project and to play nice: Money. The cash-strapped regime could bank transit fees of US$150 million per year, Kim said.


First connection


Kim, whose first connection with the project was during the liberal Kim government, admits he is in touch with the liberal Moon administration in Seoul, but – citing discretion – declined to expand upon his role. However, as the chairman of the multinational WEC, he is already in touch with key players.


David Kim believes a Russia-North Korea-South Korea natural gas pipeline could pave the way toward a Northeast Asian economic community. Photo: Daesung Group


“I think the WEC is a good platform to bring the decision makers together,” he said.  The London-based body is the world’s largest network of energy-sector professionals, boasting 92 national members, and will host the next World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi in 2019.


Putin personally attended the WEC Congress in Istanbul in 2016 and is scheduled to host it in 2022 in St Petersburg, “so he has a reason to come,” Kim said, adding, “I feel a very strong sense of urgency from the Russian side to sell power to the Far East.”


North Korea has shown recent interest in the WEC. The country was ejected for not paying its dues, but in 2016 the North Korean embassy in London contacted the WEC by email with a view to rejoining.




A meeting between interested heads of state could happen earlier. Putin has invited Kim Jong-un to attend the Russian Far Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, in September, along with South Korea’s Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


If the project gets the green light, Kim expects it to be in the form of a Russian-South Korean Special Purpose Vehicle, or SPV, which would both own and operate the pipeline. He anticipates little difficulty in raising capital investment from China and Japan, and expects North Korea’s workforce would play a role.


The project dovetails neatly with regional economies. “Russia is almost 100% about resources; South Korea and Japan are 100% knowledge and technology; China is mixed,” Kim said. “So it is a natural fit for all players around the region.”


Those players include Kim and his firm. He took on the chairmanship of the WEC in 2016 and will relinquish it in 2019. Then his own – and Daesung’s – interests will be purely commercial. “We would probably be a buyer,” if Russian PNG flows into South Korea, he said.


For now, politics – notably the big question hanging over the region, on whether Kim Jong-un really is prepared to denuclearize – is the big barrier.


In Kim’s opinion, an economic incentive for North Korea could sweeten any deal. “It is a chicken-and-egg situation,” he mused. “If denuclearization goes ahead, this will help; if this goes ahead, it will help denuclearization.”


Kim’s political benchmark is the European Coal and Steel Community, the predecessor to the European Economic Community, and today’s EU. That original body, the ECSC, was designed to intertwine the big economies of mainland Europe, and thus helping to prevent wars on the continent.


“This project could reshape the region if we can achieve a common market based on energy infrastructure,” Kim said. “If we have an Asian union, there would be totally different geopolitics.”




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[Forbes] World Energy Council Chairman Encourages Industry To Embrace New, Green Tech

Posted on 18 05 2018


World Energy Council Chairman Encourages Industry To Embrace New, Green Tech


A worker installs solar panels at a solar power plant on May 15, 2018 in Lianyungang, China.

(VCG/VCG via Getty Images)


The next gathering of the World Energy Congress is still over a year away, but you would never guess that by observing the sense of urgency surrounding World Energy Council Chairman Younghoon David Kim’s preparations or the passion with which he speaks on the need to move the energy industry forward. Some readers may not be familiar with the WEC, but the organization’s enormous influence over perhaps the world’s most important commodities ensures that what happens at the World Energy Congress shapes every aspect of the global economy.


A changing industry


In addition to serving as the Chairman of the WEC, Kim is CEO of Korea’s Daesung Group, ensuring that nearly every waking moment is dedicated to solving the myriad looming crises that may threaten the energy market.



Daesung Group
Youngoon David Kim, Chairman of the WEC


Ever the optimist, Kim sees opportunity within these challenges. He aims to use the 2019 gathering of the WEC as a platform to advance the industry in a way that will help it respond to the accelerating pace of change in a market sector that is placing a growing priority on disruption and innovation.


Still, Kim more than has his work cut out for him as he continues to push the famously conservative industry away from overreliance on fossil fuels and towards renewables. This preference for green initiatives calls for a more enthusiastic embrace of creative thinking. Kim believes that in the near future, we will see energy markets driven not primarily by resources or capital, but instead centered on brainpower and technology. According to Kim, “Now, the energy industry is moving from a capital-intensive industry to a knowledge-based industry.” The agenda for next year’s World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi reflects Kim’s philosophy, with the WEC devoting a full day (out of four total) to a deeper look at future technologies and how they will be financed.


New thinking


Mr. Kim believes it is time for the development of “outside-the-box” technologies and is a noted early backer of microbial energy, investing Daesung resources in R&D resources in this emerging field. In addition to hosting a global forum on the potential of this technology later this year, his company already operates a facility in Daegu, South Korea which harnesses microbes to turn waste into natural gas. He has, “A great deal of hope in the future of microbial energy.


Technologies like microbial fuel cells and microbial electrolysis could spark a paradigm shift from our dependence on the dead – fossil fuels – towards a partnership with living organisms.”


The push for new energy sources comes at a time when skyrocketing demand seems to clash with growing concern over the long-term viability of traditional energy resources. Kim draws parallels to the projected shortages in key commodities such as food and water that must be addressed by the next generation of leaders. “Food, energy and water are all under threat due to climate change, and these issues must be viewed as interdependent. If there is a problem with energy, it naturally affects food and water. Thus, responsible energy resource development must also be able to provide solutions that address food and water.”


Asia is key


Unsurprisingly, the importance of new technologies and responsible environmental stewardship will be key areas of focus at the 2019 World Energy Congress. However, Kim and other reformers maintain that the most pressing short-term need for the industry is to address the emergence of Asia as the largest bloc of energy consumers. Meeting this rising demand will require a rethinking of infrastructure and current logistics planning among global energy suppliers.



Aerial view of the floating solar power station on top of an abandoned coal mine at Nanping Village in Huaibei, Anhui Province of China. (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)


As the first Korean and only the second Asian to head the WEC, Kim is in position to help the body steer members in the right direction and toward success in increasingly prominent Asian markets. Contrary to popular claims that the U.S. and Europe are the only markets that value clean energy, Kim says that, “While Asia might not be a perfect green ‘role model’ just yet, Asians are providing the world with some of the best examples of how to promote sustainable energy. For example, as a region Asia has been aggressively developing its renewable energy sector.” Kim backs up this claim by pointing out that eight of the top ten solar cell producers in 2016 hailed from Korea, China and Taiwan.


The future of energy


So, what does his wholehearted embrace of futuristic green technology say about the direction of the WEC? Kim believes that the organization’s primary role must be in determining where the industry heads over the coming decades and identifying the future leaders capable of unleashing the next wave of innovation. Put more succinctly, Kim aims to equip the WEC to “seek out and support the future Michael Faradays in our midst.”




As the industry continues to evolve, Kim hopes to use his influence as Chairman of the WEC to help the most promising minds find the resources they need to make a lasting impact. The World Energy Council is uniquely positioned for this role, bridging the divide between what Kim calls, “The thinkers and the doers.” As the Next World Energy Congress draws nearer, it will be interesting to see what these innovators have in store.


POST WRITTEN BY Merrick Laravea


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World Energy Council_ The Red Thread by the WEC community Oct 2017

Posted on 21 12 2017

World Energy Council community talk about the Energy Transition and how we can explain, explore and adapt to this changing environment with our “Red Thread” approach.



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[World Energy Inside] Council Chair addresses 2017 international energy symposium

Posted on 29 11 2017

Council Chair addresses 2017 international energy symposium


World Energy Council Chair, Younghoon David Kim, addressed delegates at the 2017 International energy Symposium, organised by the Korean member committee of the Council. In his speech, Chair Kim highlighted the 2017 World Energy Trilemma report and Index launched at COP23 in Bonn, as well as the importance of the “3Ds” which are driving the Grand Transition in energy: Decarbonisation, Decentralisation and Digitalisation. Energy markets are undergoing a fundamental change from producers being the most powerful players… to consumers holding all the cards, he elaborates.


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[World Energy Inside] Council Chair addresses delegates at World Energy Week

Posted on 26 10 2017

Council Chair addresses delegates at World Energy Week




Younghoon David Kim opened a packed joint World Energy Leaders’ Summit and Energy Trilemma plenary, which was an opportunity for global energy leaders from both the public and private sector to discuss critical issues and design a long-term energy policy under the framework of the Energy Trilemma. Chair Kim said: “I am very pleased to welcome all of you to the Opening Plenary of the joint session of the World Energy Leaders’ Summit and Energy Trilemma Summit. I want to thank our host, the Portuguese Member Committee of the World Energy Council as well as the Portuguese government for their support for this event…”


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[The Korea Herald] Daesung chairman hosts WEC assembly in Lisbon

Posted on 17 10 2017


Daesung chairman hosts WEC assembly in Lisbon




Daesung Group Chairman Younghoon David Kim is hosting an executive assembly of the World Energy Council, a group of energy leaders around the world, in Lisbon, officials said Monday.


As the chairman of WEC, Kim will preside over summits and conferences scheduled to be held for the four-day gathering. The assembly runs through Thursday, they added.


Kim will also deliver an opening speech to stress the role of the energy sector in transforming the world’s economic landscape as well as the need to forge global cooperation against cyber terrorism and natural disasters.


Around 1,000 members are scheduled to attend the meeting including Portugese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and energy ministers from Lituania, Morocco and Namibia.






By Cho Chung-un (

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[Korea Joongang Daily] Microbes are seen as new `blue energy` source

Posted on 19 06 2017


Microbes are seen as new 'blue energy' source



Younghoon David Kim, chief executive officer of Daesung Group and chairman of the World Energy Council, at his office in Insa-dong, central Seoul. Kim and Daesung Group are hosting a conference Thursday on microbial fuel cells as an energy resource. [PARK SANG-MOON]


Daesung Group, a Korean conglomerate specializing in the energy business, including city gas and renewable energy, celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. To mark the anniversary, the company will host an energy conference under the theme of “Mighty Microbes for the Energy Revolution.”


Younghoon David Kim, chairman and CEO of Daesung, says microorganisms may hold the last piece of puzzle in providing sustainable energy sources. For this reason, Kim has chosen microbes as the focus for the conference.


Kim also is chairman of the United Nations-accredited energy body World Energy Council. He is the second person from Asia to head the London-based organization, which was founded in 1923.


“I believe my appointment as the head of the council is a part of what we call ‘Grand Energy Transition’,” Kim said Wednesday at his office in Insadong, central Seoul. “The global energy industry is moving away from being resource-based and capital intensive to knowledge- and technology-based, as humanity searches for sustainable energy sources.”


Kim believes in the next few decades, humans will be less reliant on fossil fuels and will turn to other energy supplies. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said in a recent report that, “[Oil’s] relative weight [in the global energy consumption] will decline in the next decades. By the 2030s, oil is expected to drop below 28 percent. A similar trend is expected for coal.” Major oil exporters such as Saudi Arabia have begun seeking industrial diversification. Saudi Arabia’s state-run project is titled Vision 2030 and Korean companies including automakers and shipbuilders are participating in the initiative.


The WEC chairman also emphasized that humanity is facing energy crisis. He said a concept called the Energy Trilemma, which refers to energy security, sustainability and equity, can simplify this crisis. “While we are looking for ways to overcome the trilemma, we have yet to find the optimal solution,” said Kim. “We need a place where scientists and experts can get together to discuss policies and technologies that take all three issues into consideration.”






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World Energy Council Chair addresses APEC Business Advisory Board

Posted on 24 05 2017

World Energy Council Chair addresses APEC Business Advisory Board


World Energy Council Chairman, David Kim, attended the second APEC Business Advisory Board Council (ABAC) meeting in Seoul on 28 April. Mr Kim addressed the members and highlighted how the Council could participate in ABAC initiatives to foster increased regional and international cooperation.


For 2017, ABAC has adopted the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future.” The work program focuses on the following priorities: Deepening regional economic integration; Achieving sustainable, innovative and inclusive growth; Enhancing MSMEs’ competitiveness and encouraging innovation in the digital era, Ensuring food security and promoting sustainable and climate smart agriculture.


Mr Kim commented: “ABAC’s theme is one that is close to my heart and one that is close to the vision I am pursuing now as Chair of the World Energy Council. While I was serving as an ABAC member, I also served as the Regional Vice Chair for Asia-Pacific and South Asia for the World Energy Council.  With the inspiration, I received from both experiences, I was challenged to take on a new commitment.


“I am only the second person from Asia-Pacific to serve as the Council’s chair in its over 90 year history. I believe this represents not simply a personal achievement, but in fact says something very meaningful about the rising global significance of our region.  More than ever, Asia’s voice as our planet’s largest and most rapidly growing consumer of energy is absolutely vital and relevant.


“When I was both a member of ABAC and the World Energy Council, simultaneously, I attempted to find ways in which these two international organisations could cooperate in addressing global energy issues such as those highlighted by the trilemma.  I believe that this effort was, and will be, of great benefit to both of our organisations.


“It is my profound hope that ABAC continues to engage in productive discussions on proposals to encourage even more active exchanges of best practices and appropriate and advanced technologies among economies. With this type of proactive collaboration, we can ensure that our future is truly “dynamic” and that we all can “share” in its benefits. The World Energy Council would be more than willing to participate in these initiatives at regional and international cooperation.”


The Council was formally invited to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) Energy Working Group (EWG) in March 2016. Initially, the Council was providing input to APEC’s work on resilience and supporting the broader initiatives of the Energy Working Group and other aspects of the APEC agenda. In August the Energy Council addressed the need to tackle non-tariff measures, and launched its  World Energy Perspectives: ‘Non-tariff measures: next steps for catalysing the low-carbon economy’, report at the Cooperation APEC Market Access Group meeting in Lima, Peru.


The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) was created by the APEC Economic Leaders in November 1995 with the aim of providing advice to the APEC Economic Leaders on ways to achieve the Bogor Goals and other specific business sector priorities, and to provide the business perspective on specific areas of cooperation.


Each economy nominates up to three members from the private sector to ABAC. These business leaders represent a wide range of industry sectors. ABAC provides an annual report to APEC Economic Leaders containing recommendations to improve the business and investment environment in the Asia-Pacific region, and outlining business views about priority regional issues. ABAC is also the only non-governmental organisation that is on the official agenda of the APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting.



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Insights from Davos from David Kim, Chair of the World Energy Council

Posted on 23 02 2017



Younghoon David Kim, Chairman from the World Energy Council attended the 47th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting held in Davos-Klosters, Geneva, on 17-20 January 2017 under the theme “Responsive and Responsible Leadership”. The event aimed to foster world leaders’ collective responses and credible actions in the context of “an emerging multipolar world”, similar to those trends set out in the World Energy Council’s recently published World Energy Scenarios entitled, ‘The Grand Transition’. In his 14th year of attending the annual leaders’ meeting, David Kim shares with the network some of his key takeaways from this year’s Davos meeting.


The importance of the Asian voice

Signalling a shift in the role of Asian leadership Davos welcomed its first appearance from a Chinese leader. President Xi of the People’s Republic of China provided the one hour opening plenary which was very compelling to see.


His presence, together with several senior Chinese government officials, including Mr. Nuer Baikeli, Administrator of the National Energy Administration and Vice-Chair of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, who spoke about China’s desire to “really promote smart, decarbonised energy in the future and improving energy efficiency”, was a strong signal to the world and to the energy sector. Mr Baikeli, who is also Vice-Chair for the Asia Region of the World Energy Council, also pointed out that there was “no one size fits all” when it came to solutions with China, assessing its unique situation in terms of its own energy Trilemma.


Mr Baikeli’s role with the Council and his words at Davos highlight more than ever the importance of the Council’s continuous outreach and efforts to work with China.  China will this year host the Clean Energy Ministerial in Beijing, which will include representation from the Council, and our working relationship with the ERI will further build on the meeting held between Mr Kim and Mr Baikeli which aimed to reinforce such collaboration.


The major topics highlighted in Davos which were similar to those addressed by Council and David Kim and that were discussed at the World Energy Congress included:

The important role of energy storage and its increasing mainstream concern. This was exemplified by the confirmation that Total was to buy a battery company and Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of Total, explained that: “You have to find a solution to store energy if you want to make renewables profitable.”


The critical idea of “Maintaining Innovation” and the necessity to bring people (inventors and investors) together was also highlighted. Again this was a major theme in the Council’s 7 realities messages issued during the 2016 World Energy Congress as well as the Chair’s inaugural address. At Davos, Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London and renowned scholar and author, summarised this thinking saying: “Innovation requires an environment, resources and people. A great environment includes basic research, unfettered ability to pursue new ideas (even if they are a challenge to the status quo). Resources are important including risk capital, places for companies to grow and places for people to convene. But it’s mostly about people – about the innovator. Bring the right people together and give them the right opportunities.”


The importance of “bringing basic science back into innovation” and “curiosity-driven fundamental research” were also main topics mirroring Chair Kim’s mentions of Faraday and Tesla in Istanbul.


One of the most controversial statements heard was provided by Oleg Deripaska; President of RUSAL, the largest aluminium company in the world; who said “Renewables are just an excuse to use more coal in some countries.” This sounded extremely provocative with countries such as India and Japan being represented in the room.


Finally, a point also made at the World Energy Congress related to the current lack of investment due to low oil prices.  In this respect Chair Kim felt that the most relevant comment came from Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih of Saudi Arabia who highlighted that there could be a shortage of oil supply by 2020 if investment did not pick up.


Al-Falih said in an interview with CNBC “We know, from what we have seen in the last couple of years, that prices around the current level and below are not attracting enough investment. We know the level of decline, natural decline, that existing production is undergoing, and we know that demand is picking up at, you know, 1.2 to 1.5 million barrels a year.


“So between increase in demand and natural decline, we need millions of barrels every year to be brought to the market, which requires massive investment.”

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[The Korea Herald] Daesung chief explores new territory for energy transition

Posted on 21 12 2016

Daesung chief explores new terriotory

for energy transition


Younghoon David Kim, chairman of Daesung Group, a South Korean conglomerate specializing in the energy business, has a unique and grand mission in mind: finding individuals like Michael Faraday.


Stressing that the world is on the verge of an energy transition, Kim believes the time is ripe for entrepreneurs like him to find the brightest minds to bring about a paradigm shift from a fossil fuel-based economy to one based on new sources of energy. To open a new chapter in human history, the world needs scientists who can unlock the mysteries of nature through passion and creative ideas.


“It always fascinates me,” Kim said as he sat down with The Korea Herald for an interview on Dec. 7.


Kim was talking about the life of Faraday, the 19th century English scientist who discovered electromagnetic induction accidentally when moving a magnet through a loop of wire. The electromagnetic rotation that Faraday discovered eventually developed into an electric motor, sparking the second industrial revolution.


“It was a discovery, not an invention. ... It was how the electricity power business all began and it all started from pure scientists full of passion. We need to find that kind of people now,” he said.




Younghoon David Kim, chairman of Daesung Group (Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)



The search for technological visionaries is taking shape.


As the chairman of the World Energy Council, the world’s largest organization on energy, in terms of membership, he plans to create a platform called “Inventor-Investor Encounter” to bring together innovative technologists and investors with true entrepreneurial spirit.


“We are going to have a gathering in the next three years to have the brightest minds meet the deepest pockets, so that they can discuss ways to industrialize innovative technologies to fast-forward the energy transition.”


In October, Kim was inaugurated as the head of the WEC, a 93-year-old organization which aims to be the “United Nations for energy.” The council represents more than 3,000 members from 93 countries. Kim is the first Korean and second Asian to lead the council.


The council will hold the World Energy Congress, known as the Energy Olympics, in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in 2019 to address the challenges and opportunities of the ever-evolving industry and the role of technology in the course of historic transition.


Fossil fuels may no longer be the dominant energy source in the future, as seen by the increase in renewable energy and the use of electric vehicles.


According to recent reports by Royal Dutch Shell and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, demand for oil will reach its peak by 2030. But noncombustion energy sources -- wind and solar power -- have problems too. They are not reliable, causing problems of power intermittence, he said.


An energy storage system is key to solving such a dilemma. But it costs a lot, and is not able to handle power distribution on a large scale.


“This is why we should all go back to the basics. Frameworks on a state level are important, but we will all end up with barriers if we don’t have dedicated people like Faraday who think deeply enough to solve the dilemma we are facing.”


The backbone of Kim’s drive for technological transition comes from his own sense of curiosity, strong Christian belief and, perhaps, a thirst for innovation and new possibilities.


Kim is the head of a South Korean energy firm that distributes and supplies fuel for residential use, a part of the family business founded by his father Kim Soo-keun.


Kim is the third son of the founder and elder brother of Kim Sung-joo, chairwoman of Sungjoo Group and owner of luxury fashion brand MCM.


Born in Daegu in 1952, Kim studied law and public administration at Seoul National University and earned a Master of Business Administration and Master of Comparative Law from the University of Michigan Graduate School.


In 1983, he went to Harvard to study global economics, but a year later he decided to study theology at Harvard Divinity School.


Daesung Group, formerly based in Daegu, grew big in the 1960s when the Korean government encouraged the use of coal to stop people from cutting down trees for fires.


With the company making a fortune, Kim’s father was offered to turn to the semiconductor business. But he declined, as he was doing well already. The offer might have gone to late Samsung Group founder Lee Byung-chull, who was then running a flour business in the same city.


“I feel sad when thinking about it. It feels like the lost 50 years (for Daesung),” he said.


“This is why I acquired Daesung Private Equity Inc. Today, the company is making positive progress in the bio and contents business.” Apart from the energy business, Daesung has been investing in publications, online platforms, fashion and movies.


Kim has also been paying a keen interest to lab works that have the possibility of becoming a new paradigm.


“I want to explore new territories by taking the road not taken,” he said. “And I am very excited about the possibilities of microbial energy.”


When traveling abroad, Kim frequently visits labs around the world, checking out the latest works himself.


From robots run by microbial fuel cells fed by organic waste to electrolysis cells that enable microbes to produce methane by feeding them electrons, Kim believes the color of future energy sources will shift from black to blue, from dead organisms to living organisms from the ocean.


“I was amazed when I first saw microbial cells generating electricity, like the first moment I learned about Faraday’s discovery of electromagnetic induction,” he said.


“He knew that his discovery would make a fortune and may have become a billionaire, like Bill Gates. But he left it open to the public by not seeking patents. If he did (privatize the discovery), the world may not have gone through the technological advancements we enjoy today.”


Pursuing public good and the growth of a private business may sound contradictory.


But Kim believes there is an intersection between the two.


“I want to be remembered as an entrepreneur who had the courage to follow the light at the end of tunnel,” he said.


“A proactive visionary like Faraday who dedicated his life for the public good in pursuit of the mystery of the world that God has created.”



By Cho Chung-un (


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World Energy Congress:Securing energy supplies, diversification focal points in global energy...

Posted on 21 10 2016

World Energy Congress: Securing energy supplies, diversification focal points in global energy gathering



With the participation of 250 ministers and CEOs along with the attendance of key policymakers at the 23rd World Energy Congress, the main focus of the remarks made by the world leaders Monday were on energy supply security and diversification of energy



The 23rd World Energy Congress has entered its third day of events in Istanbul with the "sharing for peace" motto as world leaders from Russia, Azerbaijan, Venezuela and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) along with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended on Monday. With the attendance of 250 ministers and CEOs as well as participation of key figures in policy making and 265 speakers from 82 countries in more than 60 meetings, the main focus of the remarks made by the world leaders on Monday have stressed on the energy supply security as well as diversification of energy. As the second day of the congress began with opening remarks by the Co-Chair, Chairman and CEO of World Energy Council, Younghoon David Kim who had also express his thanks to Turkey's President Erdogan for his leadership and personal support for the World Energy Congress event, he also urged the energy sector leaders to embrace new frontiers. Despite the instability and insecurity not only in the region but also throughout the world caused by crises, conflicts and terror, energy remains as major component in global relations. With this respect, the World Energy Congress in which is described as an event of "World's Energy Olympics"by President Erdo?an aims to reach people worldwide with the motto of "share for peace."


 "Our goal through the congress is to not only establish platform to exchange ideas regarding energy's vision and scenarios towards future but also to make energy a tool for peace and justice," said President Erdo?an. While the four-day program will address various topics on future visions for the global energy industry as well as opportunities, the final is solely designated on Africa, with sessions exploring critical drivers and innovations working to secure a sustainable energy future for the region under the topic of "Africa: Securing a Sustainable Energy Future." While Turkey has long-lasting relations with the African region not only due to historical and cultural ties but also due to its humanitarian approach within the relations, President Erdo?an also underlined during the congress that Turkey has different approach towards Africa than other countries as he also said, "We [Turkey] aim to revitalize our relations with Central and Northern Africa under the historical and strong humanitarian values." Continuing on by stressing that development, investment and growth cannot be established without securing energy, President Erdo?an further noted that there are 1,1 billion people throughout the world without electricity while 650 million of them are from Sub-Saharan Africa.


 President Erdo?an have noted that the country is working on securing its energy demand and diversifying its energy sources. As the Turkish Stream project is designed to transfer Russian natural gas to Europe via the Black Sea and Turkey, President Erdo?an said that work on the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project is continuing and development of the second stage of the project will depend on natural gas market conditions in Europe. He further noted that Turkey is seeking ways to implement plans for a third nuclear power plant and aimed to produce 10 percent of its electricity from nuclear power in the years ahead. Stressing that Turkey is to take critical steps by the end of this year and throughout the year of 2017, Erdo?an said,"We establish great investments by the end of this year and in 2017. Thus, we will be closer to becoming a reliable partner in natural gas trade with all countries in our region."


 Adding to President Erdo?an's remarks, Russian President Putin said that Russia aims to abide by the Paris Agreement and reduce CO2 emissions to focus on renewable energy. "We are moving toward clean energy and renewable energy resources but we cannot say that gas consumption is going down," he told the audience. In regards to supplying energy to the EU, Putin said, "We have been providing energy to the EU for the past 50 years and we are now working on a second project. We are discussing the Turkish Stream with Erdo?an and our other partners and we want to bring this to fruition." Along with Putin, Azerbaijan President Aliyev vowed to continue Azerbaijan's cooperation in the field of energy with Turkey while stating that investments will reach $20 billion. While reconciliation talks on the divided Cyprus island continue, KKTC President Aknc noted that if a possible United Cyprus Federation were established, energy security and access to energy would see a significant increase worldwide. He also added that such an establishment in Cyprus would also improve bilateral relations and cooperation between Turkey, Greece, Israel and Egypt.


 Also speaking at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro urged for new mechanisms to be put into place to drive up oil prices saying, "Prices are not sustainable anymore and have fallen to their lowest levels in the last 40 years. ... We are seeing them fall to below the cost of production. Prices must be fairer and more realistic. ...for investment we need fair prices." Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yldrm also made striking remarks in which he underlined that security and diversification of energy supplies has undoubtedly become an issue of national security: "New actors are coming to the energy sector every day. The global energy community needs to address [this] transformation process accordingly."


 The prime minister went on to say,"Countries should make sure that energy prices are not too high. Let's keep prices stable; this is a common expectation," noting that Turkey's economy is growing and becoming more dynamic: "Turkey's demand for energy is nearly three-times higher than the world average, second only to China in terms of increased accessibility to oil in the country."




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[Anadolu Agency Energy News Terminal] World Energy Congress in Istanbul ends with ceremony

Posted on 21 10 2016

World Energy Congress in Istanbul ends with ceremony


- World has to look for new technologies to create alternative energies,

new WEC chair Younghoon David Kim says in speech




















The 23rd World Energy Congress (WEC), held in Istanbul between 9-13 October, of which Anadolu Agency was the global communication partner for 2016, ended with a closing ceremony on Thursday.


Current WEC chair Marie-Jose Nadeau, incoming WEC chair Younghoon David Kim, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Energy Minister Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei and Hasan Murat Mercan, Chair of the Organizing Committee gave speeches at the ceremony. It was also announced that the 24th WEC would be held in 2019 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.


New WEC chair Younghoon David Kim said the world would have to look for new technologies to create alternative energies in the future and look to balancing energy security, sustainability and affordability at the same time.


Kim said it did not look possible to meet energy demands in the near future without fossil fuels and emphasized about 59 percent of global energy mix by 2050 would still consist of them.


"We have to search for efficient ways of creating and using fossil fuels as they will still continue to play an important role,” Kim said. “We have to keep on searching for the new generation of sustainable technologies and keep on sharing the spirit of COP21." he said.


“Future of energy has to be more innovative”


“Environmental issues will play an increasingly important element of future global energy policy,” current WEC president Nadeau said in her welfare speech. “It is a positive development that major hard carbon producers look committed to decreasing their own carbon emissions.”


Turkey’s Energy Ministry Undersecretary Fatih Donmez said everyone who had participated in the congress should remember to share for peace and inclusive development.


“Please remember Africa, how fragile the planet is, how powerful the forces of technological change are and not to use private jets for grabbing environmental prizes.” he said.


UAE Energy Minister Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei said he felt sure in the future the world would be a greener place.


“The future of energy has to be more innovative to make sure the commitments made by all nations in COP21 are met,” Al Mazrouei said. “But they cannot be met only by governments. The collaboration of the private sector and young generations is also needed,” he said.



By Sibel Akbay

Anadolu Agency

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[The Korea Herald] Daesung chief takes over as World Energy chief

Posted on 21 10 2016

Daesung chief takes over as World Energy chief


Daesung Group Chairman Younghoon David Kim



He will represent the council with Jean-Marie Dauger, a former executive vice chair at Engie, who has been appointed as co-chair for the next three years.


In his inaugural speech, Kim urged the council members to embrace new frontiers leading future industries.


“We are seeing a steady paradigm shift from a carbon-based economy powered by the combustion of fossil fuels to one based on new sources of energy and new modes of power generation,” Kim said.


“Now, what this industry sorely needs are visionaries who have the whole picture in their sights. We need to seek out and to support the future Michael Faradays toiling in the labs or workshops from Nairobi to New York.”


Before becoming the chairman of the international organization, Kim served for six years as vice chair of the council’s Asia-Pacific and South Asia division from 2005. In 2013, he was elected as co-chair.


Established in 1923, the WEC has brought global leaders together to achieve sustainable and affordable energy for all, the company said. It is an UN-accredited energy body and principal impartial network, representing more than 3,000 organizations in 92 countries, it added.


By Cho Chung-un (


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[Korea Joongang Daily] Daesung`s Kim named chairman of WEC

Posted on 21 10 2016

Daesung’s Kim named chairman of WEC


Younghoon David Kim



Daesung Group Chairman Younghoon David Kim was inaugurated chairman of the World Energy Council (WEC), the United Nations accredited energy body, on Thursday.


He is the first Korean to head the council. Founded in 1923, the London-based council represents over 3,000 member organizations in 92 countries. Its aim is to “promote the sustainable supply and use of energy,” the council said.


Kim will serve for three years as chairman along with Jean-Marie Dauger, a former Executive Vice-Chair at France-based global energy player Engie, who was elected as co-chair. The co-chair will succeed the chairman after his term.


“We are seeing a steady paradigm shift from a carbon-based economy powered by the combustion of fossil fuels to one based on new sources of energy and new modes of power generation,” Kim said in his inaugural speech. “Now, what this industry needs are visionaries who have the whole picture in their sights. We need to seek out and support the future Michael Faradays toiling in the labs or workshops from Nairobi to New York.”


The inaugural ceremony was held in Istanbul, where the World Energy Congress, a triennial event held by the council to discuss global energy issues with leaders in the sector, took place.


Marking its 23rd iteration, the congress was held from Sunday through Thursday with the participation of 250 speakers including President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as leaders of global energy giants such as Bob Dudley, CEO of BP, and Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco.


The major topic of discussion at the four-day event was how to balance the energy “trilemma” - energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability.


Kim served as co-chair from 2013 until his inauguration Thursday.



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[Petroleum Economist] Planning for the future

Posted on 21 10 2016

Planning for the future





After a three-year term as the World Energy Council’s co-Chair, Younghoon David Kim is to take over as Chair until 2019. We caught up with him to get his thoughts on the Council, and where energy markets are changing.


What do you see as the most pressing challenges confronting the global energy sector?


There is little doubt that the energy sector will change over the coming years because of several disruptive global trends, ranging from climate change to automation and digitisation associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is also affecting other industries and transforming the global economic landscape. We are seeing a steady paradigm shift from a carbon-based economy based on combustion to one based on new sources of energy and new modes of power generation.


Fossil fuels will continue to play an important role. There are estimates that fossil fuels will still generate 75% of global power needs in 2050 because we cannot meet energy demand without them. But we also need to prepare for the future. That means not only developing clean and more efficient ways to produce and use fossil fuels, but also discover and nurture alternative energy sources. The coming decades will define the winners and losers of this energy transition. In the long term, I believe we are embarking on a significant energy revolution that could equal and even surpass the industrial revolution in transforming the world.


Within this shifting picture, how important is natural gas as the hallowed "bridge fuel"?


I agree that natural gas serves as a "bridging" energy source to a more sustainable economy since it is the cleanest form of fossil fuel. In fact, natural gas is the only fossil fuel whose share of primary energy consumption is expected to grow. It is already the second largest energy source for power generation, accounting for 22% of generated power globally. The use of natural gas to fuel transport from trucks to ships, its role in helping make the switch from coal, and its combination with carbon capture and storage systems makes it an ideal, long-term, cheap and reliable low-carbon energy source.


Where does the so-called Energy Trilemma (energy security, social equity and environmental concerns) figure in the WEC's thinking?


The World Energy Council has long discussed the concept of the energy trilemma -the best way to balance the sometimes conflicting goals of achieving energy security, delivering affordable energy and reducing carbon emissions. Bringing these contrasting trends into harmony is always difficult, but these challenges have taken on urgency because of climate change. As a result, the global energy sector must tackle many issues in the coming years, including changing the energy supply mix, increasing energy access and affordability, and improving energy efficiency. All of this will contribute to a paradigm shift in the global energy sector.


But the energy trilemma can no longer be seen in isolation. It also forms part of a bigger trilemma: the need to balance food, energy and water resources, what the UN has called the FEW nexus to highlight the interdependence of these main building blocks of society. By 2050, global demand for energy will double, while demand for food and water will grow by half. But the UN predicts there could be a 40% shortfall in water in the next decade due to severe droughts caused by climate change. That means less water available to produce food and energy.


So the energy transition also involves sustaining the food-energy-water nexus. Decisions on energy supplies must now be related to achieving water and food security as well, particularly in the developing world. So a main goal of the global energy sector should be to promote energy systems designed to harmonise with food and water sustainability goals, while strengthening economies to resist any threatened breakdown in the FEW nexus that could be caused by drastic climate change.


What about the social dimension? Do you consider the provision of affordable energy to the world's population as important as ensuring that energy is carbon neutral?


Of course, both have equal importance and that is why the solution is to identify the right energy technologies, not only in terms of the energy trilemma, but which also complement food and water security goals.


The focus should be on adopting the right technology for the right place at the right price. The guiding principle should be to promote resilient energy technologies to meet local conditions. I believe that the share of renewables as an energy source will continue to grow. Wind and solar power are no longer new tech. Solar panels are mass produced in China and the cost of a megawatt of wind power or solar power is now almost competitive with that produced by fossil fuels in some cases.


Low-tech and cost-effective energy solutions can be particularly effective in developing economies and can be as simple as providing clean cooking stoves fueled by eco-friendly briquettes. Greater attention should be paid to reducing electricity generation based on big projects, such as large power plants or giant hydroelectric dams, and delivered instead by small-scale alternatives such as micro-hydro projects or off-grid power solutions such as small gas-fired generators and solar panels, which are proven technologies that work in this environment.


The combination of low-cost renewable energy technology with highly efficient appliances and robust battery technology means that grid expansion may no longer be necessary in remote rural areas. This development would also do much to complement food and water security goals to meet local conditions. But we also need to develop grid-scale energy storage systems that can once and for all overcome the conundrum of the intermittency of wind and solar power.


You have played a key role in shaping Asia as the world's fastest-growing energy market. What lessons from this can be applied to other global regions?


Asia represents an interesting case study of whether we can achieve our goals. Asia holds the global balance of power when it comes to energy and climate change. Strong economic growth in China and India has meant they have tripled CO2 emissions since 1990, although per capita emissions are still much lower than in developed countries. China alone uses twice the amount of energy of Europe, so the potential for greater environmental damage remains. China and India, which together account for 40% of the world's population, will define the new demand centers and they must play a more responsible role in global energy governance.


In terms of fossil fuels, the energy market has changed from being a seller's market to a buyer's market. Previously, Western majors and Middle East producers had the initiative in the market, but today Asia has the power in terms of being a major energy consumer.


For Asia, the disruption in energy models actually presents a golden opportunity to avoid some of the environmental problems encountered in developed countries.


New technology solutions are being rapidly embraced from solar panels and electric batteries to energy storage systems and carbon capture systems. China is emerging as the world's biggest market for electric vehicles as well as the largest producer of solar panels. China, South Korea and Japan have become the leaders in electric batteries and the development of energy storage systems.


Since Asia is actively embracing energy storage, electric vehicles and wind and so-lar power, it is becoming a major competitor in the global alternative energy market.


What is the role of technical innovation in the energy industry? Is the sector doing enough to incentivise innovation or could more be done?


My short answer is that companies must innovate or eventually perish and that should be incentive enough for them to continuously innovate. Energy companies need to reinvent themselves. We are at the threshold of a whole new industrial era being driven by the technological advances for smart cities, connected homes or big data. We are also seeing remarkable progress in the material sciences, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering to name just a few.


All of these developments, in one way or another, will have an impact on energy production and consumption in the future. We are already seeing companies outside the energy sector, such as Tesla, Uber and even Google doing things that are impacting our industry.


Even though there are many competing energy scenarios for the future, a general consensus is emerging that demands an unrelenting search for a new generation of sustainable technology to tackle climate change and other urgent global challenges.


Energy companies must move beyond the era of fossil fuels to keep up with disruptive changes, while offering the hope of increased energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint. We are seeing utilities, for example, adapt to new energy models. Southern California Edison has set up an Advanced Technology lab that is focused on energy storage, automation and digital communications to improve the efficiency and reliability of electricity grids powered by a growing share of renewable energy sources.


But beyond that, we should also consider frontier energy technologies, which may be the most exciting area of exploration.


If you asked an educated European in the 17th century what electricity was, few would have any idea since the concept was virtually unknown. It was not until the beginning of the 19th century after a series of electricity-related discoveries that we begin seeing primitive devices employing and transmitting electricity. And it was only in 1830s when electricity because viable for use in technology after Michael Faraday, one of my personal heroes, created the electric dynamo that solved the problem of generating electric currents in a continuous and practical way.


I believe there are other energy technologies out there that few can anticipate, just as few anticipated the existence of electricity four hundred years ago. These technologies range from high-altitude wind power, grid-connected tidal power machinery and power produced from nuclear waste to nanotechnology and even microbial energy research that aims to harness the cell as an energy source. We could one day see a paradigm shift from the exploitation of dead microbes, which are basic material for fossil fuels, to using living microorganisms to generate energy. These concepts may seem far-fetched, but remember that few knew about electricity before Faraday came along.


You have been involved the WEC for some years. What is your vision for the Council as you take over its chair?


One primary role as WEC chair is to ask questions and provoke a debate about where the global energy industry is heading. More specifically, I think that the WEC should play a critical role in helping develop the next generation of energy leaders. This means that we need to generate among the young generation a passion and devotion for innovation in the energy sector. Electricity was one of the greatest inventions that transformed the world between 1870 and 1940-probably the most economically revolutionary period in human history-and many of its pioneers were self-taught men like Faraday, Nicolas Tesla and Thomas Edison. We need to follow their example to unleash breakthroughs by harnessing the raw talent across all sectors of society.


Let me use the example of Michael Faraday, who helped spark the electricity revolution in the 19th century. He came from a very poor family and had almost no formal education. But he was discovered and mentored by the Royal Institution of Great Britain and went to produce a long list of achievements, such as the electric motor and electric generator.


The energy industry needs to help increase the pace of innovation, to identify and finance promising investors and commercialise disruptive technologies. We need to seek out and support the future Michael Faradays in our midst.


I believe that the World Energy Council can play a role in forging connections between innovators and investors in the energy sector as well as achieving innovative collaboration among the food, energy and water sectors. This is why WEC's Future Energy Leaders program as well as the World Energy Academies sponsored by some of our national member committees are so important in nurturing talent.


So I hope that the WEC can find a role to play in bringing them together with forward-looking financiers to help achieve technological breakthroughs, those with the brightest minds and deepest pockets.


The World Energy Council is uniquely placed in this regard. We are an international non-governmental organisation that enjoys the support of the private sector, bridging the divide between the thinkers and the doers. Close cooperation between inventors and investors will spark collaborative innovation and accelerate the global energy transition toward climate change-resilient energy systems.


What do you hope to achieve at the WEC Congress in Istanbul?


I hope to use the opportunity to urge my colleagues to reach out to the technology and financial communities as well as the food and water sectors so we can tackle together the looming challenges in terms of energy and climate change. I look forward to the support of the incoming co-Chair Jean-Marie Dauger and Secretary-General Christoph Frei in this regard. I think that the WEC can play a vital role in this process by creating a vision and a roadmap to advance the global energy sector and I want to emphasise the importance of this to the delegates.


Produced in association with WEC

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[Nikkei] Younghoon David Kim -- Asia must push the boundaries of energy frontiers

Posted on 28 09 2016

Younghoon David Kim -

Asia must push the boundaries of energy frontiers





Asia holds the balance of power when it comes to energy and climate change.


Global CO2 emissions, the main of cause of global warming, have increased by more than 50% since 1990. For that, Asia must share part of the blame. While emissions have actually fallen by 20% in Europe over the past 25 years, strong economic growth in China and India has resulted in a tripling of their CO2 emissions. At the same time, the disruption in energy models around the world actually represents a golden opportunity for Asia to avoid some of the environmental problems encountered in developed countries.


China alone consumes twice the amount of energy as Europe and the potential for greater environmental damage from Asia is rising as energy demand continues to grow in the region's efforts to lift populations out of poverty. While per capita CO2 emissions are significantly higher in developed countries at nearly 16 tons annually, they are only 6 tons in China and 2 tons in India.


China and India, which together account for 40% of the world's population, are emerging as the new global energy demand centers and they, along with other Asian countries, must play a more responsible role in global energy governance. In the next generation, there will be one billion more people worldwide and a large share of them will be more urban and affluent. One billion more vehicles will clog the roads. Yet one billion people today, including many in Asia, are being left behind because they have no access to modern energy.


Whether the world can achieve its goal to prevent average global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels, as agreed at the Paris climate change summit last December, will most certainly depend on what Asia does.


Energy trilemma


Asia is confronting what one could call the World Energy Council calls an "energy trilemma," the need to balance the conflicting goals of energy security, affordable energy and sustainable energy. For example, China and India have large reserves of coal (energy security) which enables them to produce cheap electricity (affordable energy), but the burning of coal significantly increases carbon emissions. Both countries could turn to nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions, but at the cost of making energy less affordable in some cases. Bringing these contrasting trends into harmony is always difficult.


But energy cannot be seen in isolation. It also forms part of a bigger trilemma: the need to balance food, energy and water resources, underscoring what the UN has called the FEW "nexus" to highlight the interdependence of these main building blocks of society. By 2050, global demand for energy will double, while demand for food and water will grow by half. But the United Nations predicts there could be a 40% shortfall in water in the next decade due to severe droughts caused by climate change. That means less water available to produce food and energy.


For governments as well as all relevant sectors of society, decisions on energy supplies must now be related to achieving water and food security. One interesting regional example in this regard is the proposed construction of dams along several major Southeast Asian rivers. Planned dam projects along the Mekong River in Laos and the surrounding area, for example, would appear to solve the energy trilemma for this underdeveloped region. Hydropower appears to tick all the boxes when it comes to energy security, affordability and sustainability. The only problem in this case is that the dams threaten fish stocks and rice yields downstream in Cambodia and Vietnam.


So what can be done in dealing with Asia's energy challenges?



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Renewable energy needs advanced technology for breakthrough: WEC co-chair

Posted on 25 05 2016



SEOUL, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Global renewable energy industry needs an advanced technology for breakthrough in providing a more reliable, sustainable energy source for the world, co-chair of the World Energy Council (WEC) said Tuesday.


WEC Co-Chair Younghoon David Kim told a meeting with foreign correspondents in Seoul that solar and wind powers could be the most acceptable option of renewable energy in consideration of its "sustainability". Solar and wind powers emit no greenhouse gas, helping the world tackle climate change.


Kim, however, pointed out their "reliability" problem as solar and wind powers have yet to secure an energy storage technology advanced enough to accommodate factories and plants in an industrial scale. The present technology can only serve automobile batteries.


Solar and wind powers are clean and sustainable, but they are not a reliable energy source because provisions can be stopped depending on weather conditions. To overcome the intermittence problem, technology on energy storage should be advanced enough to cover the intermittent halt, the co-chair said.


Kim is scheduled to take office as WEC chair at the upcoming World Energy Congress that will be held in October in Istanbul, Turkey. The 23rd triennial congress will come under the theme of "Embracing New Frontiers", expecting to attract about 10,000 delegates from about 120 countries.


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World Energy Council Co-Chair plays host to international media round-table

Posted on 24 05 2016


In anticipation of the 23rd World Energy Congress in Istanbul, current Council Co-chair Younghoon David Kim hosted a media round-table in Seoul with senior foreign correspondents on 24 May.


Participants including journalists from Platts, New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Nikkei (Japan), Xinhua (China) and Cihan News Agency (Turkey), joined Co-chair Kim for an intensive two-hour session which covered topics ranging from the Council’s role in the grand transition of the energy sector to details about this year’s Congress.


Great interest was placed on the various speakers attending and sessions to be held in Istanbul including a day which will be centred on Africa, sessions devoted to a better understanding of the complex interrelationships between energy, food and water and the role that governments should play, as well as innovative technology.


Co-chair Kim was asked to comment on the security challenges hosting Congress in Istanbul might bring. He stated that the organising committee had a robust security plan in place and that the city was continuing to host a variety of important international events.


The journalists from China debated the impact of the current lack of investment in infrastructure would mean for future energy security. Picking up on that point, Platts was interested in knowing whether or not low oil prices could instead constitute a breakthrough for the energy community. The Wall Street Journal questioned whether or not battery storage would revolutionise the transportation sector and if oil would ever reach the $150+/barrel mark again.


Renewable energy was also a topic of great interest during the round-table with the New York Times speculating which of the renewable energy sources currently available was the most promising, while Nikkei enquired how the whole issue of renewable energy was to be addressed at Congress.


Finally, there was discussion among the participants on how the COP 21 agreement (505.79 kB)would impact the energy sector. Specifically, would the agreement help to accelerate the energy transition and what impact would it have on energy market design?


The intense discussions that took place at the media round table were indicative of the topics currently high on the energy agenda, which should make the 23rd World Energy Congress the subject of much global media interest.

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Technology is the Future of Energy

Posted on 18 04 2016


The World Energy Council’s Co-chair Younghoon David Kim delivered a keynote speech at the 2016 DongA New Energy Innovation Conference in February in Seoul hosted by one of Korea’s most respected major dailies, The DongA Ilbo. 


The speech, entitled “Technology is the Future of Energy,” covered recent discussions Co-chair Kim that had in Davos where this year’s theme focused on the “4th Industrial Revolution.” Co-chair Kim also talked about the Trilemma and the Council’s ongoing food-energy-water nexus early findings in relation to this revolution.  


Other speakers at the event included the Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, Joo Hyunghwan, and the Council’s Honorary Chair, Pierre Gadonneix, who gave a special lecture entitled “The Change of Future Energy Paradigm”.



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Deepened cooperation with China`s National Energy Administration

Posted on 28 01 2016


Younghoon David Kim, Co-Chair of the World Energy Council met with Nur Bekri, Administrator of the National Energy Administration (NEA) and Vice-Chair of the National Development and Reform Commission of China at the NEA headquarters in Beijing earlier this month. Both parties agreed to deepen cooperation between China and the World Energy Council and discussed China’s representation at the forthcoming World Energy Congress in Istanbul.


Co-Chair Kim noted the significance of China’s One Belt One Road project in building capacity for Asia’s infrastructure. Nur Berkri, who is the World Energy Council Vice Chair for the Asia region, noted that the energy sector is core to the project and highlighted that the World Energy Council’s contributions to its success would be highly appreciated.


The 2016 World Energy Issues Monitor report will be launched in Beijing in March. The annual World Energy Issues Monitor provides a graphical snapshot of issues keeping policymakers, CEOs and leading energy experts in over 90 countries awake at night. It seeks to promote an understanding of the world energy agenda and the evolution of priorities on a historical and geographical basis.


The 2016 report promises to make an interesting reading as it will be a key moment to assess the impact of the oil price shock, the adoption of energy as a Sustainable Development Goal and the culmination of a global climate agreement at COP21.




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Seoul Energy Symposium calls for faster energy alliance progress

Posted on 16 12 2015




At the World Energy Council International Energy Symposium in Korea, where around 170 energy leaders from government, public authorities, research institutions and the industry met, there was a call to move forward the establishment of an alliance of expertise to meet the objectives of the Eurasian Energy Integration project.


The ultimate need for establishing an integrated energy market in Eurasia region has long been recognised by energy leaders and policy makers. Eurasia is home to resource-rich countries that are highly dependent on energy exports as well as major energy-consuming nations that are heavily reliant on energy imports.


Speakers from Korea, China, Russia, Europe and Japan addressed the Symposium with the vision and policy of their governments and industry in developing a Eurasian Energy Network. Among the many speakers were Chung, Yang-Ho, Deputy Minister for Energy and Resources of Ministry of Trade, Republic of Korea and Younghoon David Kim, Co-Chair World Energy Council Co-Chair, whose talks included the role of the Energy Trilemma in achieving Eurasian objectives.


Commenting on the Eurasian Energy Integration project, Chung, Yang-Ho, Deputy Minister for Energy and Resources of Ministry of Trade, Republic of Korea said that significant movement in global energy cooperation is required to break down barriers between energy consuming countries and energy producing countries in Eurasia region and ultimately to balance the World Energy Council’s Energy Trilemma.


Chung, Yang-Ho said, “We have to develop projects that are aimed at exploiting oil and gas resources of East Siberia led by a multilateral cooperation mechanism and create an environment to establish a cross-border energy infrastructure that includes a gas and oil pipeline and electrical grid.”


Younghoon David Kim, Co-Chair of the World Energy Council went on to emphasise the importance of leveraging innovative technological breakthroughs led by Northeast Asia as a core solution to overcome the challenges of the Energy Trilemma.


Younghoon said: “With the leadership in fields such as Energy Storage Systems from North East Asia and the rich hydrocarbon and renewable energy resources of the region, I know that Eurasia can stand at the forefront as a solution provider to overcome the Energy Trilemma throughout the world.”


Moderator Professor Yang Hoon Son showed regret about the absence of a specific action plan, despite the long continued debate about East Asian energy industry cooperation.  He said: “I feel regretful since despite that most of the world’s industrialised regions are well cooperated in terms of energy, the East Asian region still does not have a concrete plan after 20 years of consideration.”


Park, Joo Heon, President of Korea Energy Economics Institution, explained that Korea can perform critical roles in the implementation of the Eurasia Initiative in both geopolitical and geo-economic aspects as it is located at a gateway that connects Eurasia and the Pacific.


He said, “Korea will enhance connectivity, which is a key factor in Eurasian cooperation, thus performing outstanding roles in expediting and facilitating cooperation in Eurasia.”



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The Changing World Gas Industry

Posted on 26 11 2015


Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Gas Conference inaugural event in South Korea, Younghoon David Kim, Co-Chair of the World Energy Council, said that whilst the South Korean gas industry has a relatively short history of 30 years, it now stands near the level of developed countries.



He went on to talk about how the issues facing South Korea in many ways mirror what the gas industry as a whole is facing across the globe and described some possible solutions. He said: “In Asia most natural gas is imported as LNG, and the price is indexed to crude oil on a long-term, contractual basis. The Asia-Pacific market accounts for three-quarters of global LNG trade and one-third of global natural gas trade.



“The extended slump in oil prices has caused LNG prices to dive and experts forecast that prices will remain low for many reasons: the slowdown of Asian economies -the largest consumers of LNG, declining European demand and the planned supply of US LNG to Europe.



“Excess investment has caused over-supply. This combined with declining demand and falling prices has led to global delays on final investment decisions regarding gas-related projects as their long-term viability is now being questioned in what has become a buyers’ market. Final investment decisions are delayed, not only in the case of E&P projects, but also in liquefaction capacity build-up.



“Specifically, for South Korea, in comparison to 2014 we have seen an approximate 8% decrease in gas consumption as a result of South Korea’s economic downturn. Also, the lack of new customers due to an almost complete saturation of the domestic gas market is another contributory factor.”



Younghoon David Kim also went on to showcase our newly launched Global Gas Centre, which the World Energy Council hosts, and explained how the group is focused on understanding the interplay between the gas sector and wider energy sectors. He said: “The gas industry is a driving force in the global economy and collaboration is needed on new energy infrastructure projects and in the development of new technologies where gas can play an important role.”



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Manila World Energy Leaders`s Summit Share Views

Posted on 22 07 2015




The Manila World Energy Leaders’ Summit, WELS, was a resounding success – it brought together energy leaders in an informal context to discuss critical issues and to connect the dots in a time of unprecendented uncertainty in the global energy sector.


Christoph Frei, Secretary General, World Energy Council, said: “Over the two days, the WELS Summit proved to be an invaluable opportunity to share different views on current challenges in the energy world, and confront views in order to tackle issues in a regionally integrated manner.”


Discussions reconfirmed that regional integration is of critical importance to Asia, with trust clearly at the heart of the discussions. Another topic was the design of urban centres to counter pressure from transport and demography where it was agreed that the issue is largely a question of financing infrastructure, with cities key to generating demand.


Christoph Frei went on to say: “Regional LNG markets face incredible changes from new markets and financing resilient energy infrastructure from extreme weather events keeps private sector and policy leaders awake at night.


“It is clear that working together on these momentous issues contributes to overcoming the energy policy Trilemma, and we will continue to make these issues a focus of our further-going Scenarios, Trilemma and Resources studies.”


The Summit, which took place at the Asia Clean Energy Forum, was co-hosted by the Asian Development Bank at their Headquarters in Manila, was attended by more than 50 delegates from over 30 countries, included six government ministers and senior officials in attendance from Hong Kong, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines and China. The World Energy Council was once again please to be a co-organiser of the Asia Clean Energy Forum, which was addressed by our Co-Chair, Younghoon David Kim, our Secretary General, Christoph Frei and fellow World Energy Council leaders and members.



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World Energy Council strengthens involvement with Water for Energy Framework

Posted on 12 06 2015


The World Energy Council is strengthening its involvement with the Water for Energy Framework (W4EF) which was established to develop a common framework for the evaluation and reporting of the energy impacts on water.


Speaking at the 7th World Water Forum in Korea, Younghoon David Kim, Co – Chair of the World Energy Council, said:  “I am delighted to say that for the second phase of the W4EF project, we will be taking a leading role alongside EDF who is also a key partner.


“As the supply of water becomes an increasing challenge for everyone in the 21st century, it is essential that there is a strong working relationship between the energy and water sectors, both in the public and private sectors and globally as well as regionally.”


Water for Energy Framework aims to develop a comprehensive approach to the water footprint of energy production. It will allow differentiating between water withdrawal, water consumption and net water consumption, and calculating different kinds of interactions between the activity and its water environment.  After agreement on the framework and its validation, a tool will be developed to help implement the methodology in a consistent way and ensure wide dissemination globally.


Younghoon David Kim went on to say: “The World Energy Council will be encouraging companies to implement and apply the best methodologies to meet the water challenges of the future.  We  look forward to sharing the results of Phase 2 at the 8th World Water Forum in Brazil in 2018.”

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WEC announces winners of "Tomorrow`s Energy Prize" for the 2013 World Energy Congress

Posted on 02 08 2013


SEOUL/LONDON, July 31, 2013 — The World Energy Council today announced the winners of the “Tomorrow’s Energy Prize” for the most outstanding papers to be presented at the 2013 World Energy Congress in Daegu, South Korea from October 13 to 17, 2013.


It is the first time that this prize, which carries an award of US$10,000 for each winning paper, has been presented in association with the World Energy Congress.  It is being sponsored by the Daesung Group, a leading Korean energy company.


This year’s jury of judges included leading representatives from the World Energy Council, the Organizing Committee of the World Energy Congress, and the Daesung Group. A total of 346 papers from 49 countries were submitted on topics related to the Congress theme of “Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today”.


The four category prize winners, hailing from Russia, Thailand, Mexico and China, are:

  • Exploring World Energy Scenarios: Dr Tatiana Mitrova, Head of the Oil and Gas Department at the Energy Research Center of the Russian Academy of Science. Paper topic: “The Global Outlook Until 2040: The Potential Impact of the Shale Oil and Gas Technological Breakthrough on the Liquid Fuel and Gas Markets”.
  • Assessing the Energy Trilemma: Ms Supanida Wongsomboon, Senior Accountant, Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. Paper title: “EGAT 07: The Impact of Renewable Energy on Electricity Tariffs”.
  • Improving Energy Access: Mr Omar Ramirez, Head of Business Development, Arteche Mexico. Paper title: “New Single Phase Substations as a Real Option for Rural Electrification”.
  • Promoting Energy and Urban Innovation: Ms Rui Zhang,Chief Engineer, Shanghai Solar Energy Research Center. Paper title: “Study on Thermal Performance of Photovoltaic Glass Curtain Walls”.


In addition, prizes worth US$2,500 each are being awarded to seven papers that were deemed to have special merit on the following topics:

  • Exploring World Energy Scenarios: Dr Andreas Wiese, Executive Director, Lahmeyer International. Paper title: “The German Energiewende: A Model for Other Countries?”
  • Surveying World Energy Resources and Technology: Dr Nicolas Vortmeyer, Head of the Technology Development Lab,  Siemens.  Paper topic: “Post-combustion Carbon Capture – Leading Mature Technology for Decarbonization of Fossil Power Generation”.
  • Surveying World Energy Resources and Technology: Ms Noelia Chimale, Professor, Instituto Technologico de Buenos Aires. Paper topic: “Shale Gas Development in Argentina: A Change to the Traditional ENP Business Strategy”.
  • Surveying World Energy Resources and Technology: Mr Jair Maues, Consultant, Petrobras. Paper topic: “Harvesting Bioelectricity Production in Brazil”.
  • Surveying World Energy Resources and Technology: Dr Seo In-yong, General Manager, KEPCO. Paper topic: “Financial Impacts of Energy Efficiency Resource Standards on the Korean National Electricity Market”.
  • Assessing the Energy Trilemma: Mr Norihisa Sakurai, Senior Economist, CRIEPI.  Paper topic: “Socio-economic Impacts of the Nuclear Power Plant Shutdown in Japan: Simulation Analysis with the CRIEPI Econometric Models”.
  • Improving Energy Access: Mr Yusuf Mohammad Ganda, Assistant Chief Technical Officer, Sokoto Energy Research Centre, Usmanu Danfodio University.  Paper topic: “The Role of Renewable Energy for Energy Access in Nigeria”.


In addition, a total of 155 paper authors have been invited to attend the Congress and present their papers at the Expert Forum session. The prize winners will receive their awards from Younghoon David Kim, Chairman of the Daesung Group and Co-chair of both the Congress Organizing Committee and the World Energy Council, at the Congress closing ceremony on October 17.


David Kim commented:  “I’m delighted to see that the inauguration of the Tomorrow’s Energy Prize has attracted such a broad range of insightful papers from around the world. The global response has been heartening and picking the winners was a difficult process. It is noteworthy that nearly 60 per cent of the papers were submitted from Asia, including many from China, which underscores the reach and importance of the World Energy Council. I look forward to seeing the Tomorrow’s Energy Prize becoming a respected global award that highlights the best in energy research and analysis.”


Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, added:  “These excellent papers provide a very timely insight into some of the most pressing energy issues facing the world.  They also underline the very considerable talent within our industry, providing us with a strong platform from which to identify new, innovative and sustainable means of securing our energy future.  I’m looking forward to engaging with these thought leaders when they present their findings to the Congress in October.”


The World Energy Congress takes place over 13–17 October 2013 at the EXCO Exhibition & Convention Center in Daegu, South Korea.


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World Energy Council launches "Tomorrow`s Energy Prize"

Posted on 17 01 2013



US$60,000 to be awarded to the best papers in six categories

Leading experts invited to submit on future of energy



SEOUL- LONDON, January 17, 2013 – The World Energy Council today officially launched the “Tomorrow’s Energy Prize”, a US$60,000 competition to recognise the most outstanding papers submitted to the World Energy Congress, which takes place in Daegu, Korea, from 13 to 17 October 2013.


Submissions are invited from global experts in their respective fields. The prize covers six categories under the World Energy Congress’ 2013 theme: “Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today”. The Daegu 2013 Organizing Committee encourages authors to provide their insights on a topic relating to any one of the World Energy Council’s six main activity areas:


  • Exploring World Energy Scenarios
  • Surveying World Energy Resources and Technologies
  • Assessing the Energy Trilemma:  The trade-offs between energy security, social equity and environmental impact
  • Improving Energy Access: the food, energy and water connection
  • Promoting Energy and Urban Innovation
  • Shaping Global Energy Frameworks and Governance

The winning paper in each category will receive US$10,000.


Younghoon David Kim, Acting Chair of the Daegu 2013 Organizing Committee and Chairman of Daesung Group, which is sponsoring the prize, commented: 


“Having already secured a significant group of high-level speakers for next October, I am confident that the Tomorrow’s Energy Prize will encourage equally outstanding submissions from across the energy sector – suppliers, infrastructure providers, academia and researchers, to name but a few.” 


Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, added: 


“More than ever, we need innovative thinking to tackle our global energy challenges. Therefore I am delighted that, for the first time, we are able to offer significant funds to reward the very best insights to be showcased at the World Energy Congress, the preeminent event of the energy sector.  I am grateful to Younghoon David Kim for his support in making this prestigious prize possible.” 


The selection process will comprise two rounds. The first will see 150 papers shortlisted by 15 June.  The second will see the selected papers presented to a judging panel. The winning papers will be announced on 15 July.


In expectation of more papers being submitted in response to the announcement of the prize, the submission deadline has been extended to 31 March.  The awards for the winning papers will be presented during the Congress. It is left to the discretion of the judging committee to determine whether an award should be given in each category based on the quality of the submissions. If no paper is considered award-winning in one category, the $10,000 prize will be transferred to another category paper deemed more worthy for recognition.


All papers must be original works and should not be under review for similar events or for journals. The works should be written in English and not exceed 15 pages.


Further information for potential authors can be found at the official Congress website Direct enquiries can be made to Mr Yonghyuk Choi at (988.00 B).


The World Energy Congress is held every three years under the auspices of the World Energy Council, which consists of 93 national committees representing more than 3,000 member organizations including governments, industry, professional institutions and associations, and non-profit groups.


This year’s Congress will be only the second to be held in East Asia in the event’s 90-year history. Delegates from across the global energy and related sectors are expected to include government ministers, heads of state and current and future industry leaders from both developed and developing nations. The event is being hosted by the World Energy Council and the WEC Daegu 2013 Organizing Committee, which represents the World Energy Council’s Korean members.


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WEC selects historic leadership

Posted on 08 11 2012

The World Energy Council has selected new leadership

following elections at the Executive Assembly 2012.

                                        [Marie-José Nadeau]                                                        [Younghoon David Kim]


Marie-José Nadeau, from Canada, has been chosen as Chair-elect and will take the helm as Chair when the term of the current Chairman Pierre Gadonneix ends at the 2013 World Energy Congress in October.  She will become the first woman to head the WEC in its 89-year history.


Younghoon David Kim, from South Korea, was selected Co-Chair-elect and will take on this position at the end of the 2013 Congress.  Both will serve a three-year term until 2016, at which time Mr Kim will become Chair.


This is the first time the WEC has elected both a Chair and a Co-Chair. The plan is aimed to allow for greater organisational continuity and more resources to represent the WEC globally, greater consistency in the leadership, more inclusiveness of several regions and professional backgrounds, as well as more diverse leadership.


Mrs Nadeau and Mr Kim have both been actively involved in the WEC for many years.  Mrs Nadeau has served on the Officers’ Council since 2006; chaired the Communications and Outreach Committee since it was established in 2004; led the organising team of the 2010 World Energy Congress in Montreal; and is a member of the WEC Finance Committee.  Mr Kim served as WEC Vice Chair for Asia Pacific and South Asia from 2005 to 2011, spearheaded the successful bid by Daegu, South Korea, to host WEC’s 2013 World Energy Congress, and currently serves as a Vice Chair on the 2013 Congress Organising Committee.


Two new WEC officers were also approved by member committees at the Executive Committee:


Dr Leonhard Birnbaum has become Vice Chair for Europe and will serve a three-year term until 2015.  Dr Birnbaum, from Germany, is Chief Commercial Officer at RWE, the European electricity and gas utility.


Dr Taha Mohammed Zatari was elected Vice Chair with Special Responsibility for the Middle East and Gulf States for a three-year term from 2012 to 2015. Dr Zatari is Director General of Saudi Arabia’s Environmental Standards General Directorate and Senior Consultant of the country’s national authority for the Clean Development Mechanism.


The Executive Assembly also selected the following Standing Committee Chairs-elect. They will serve a year in this capacity and will take up their duties officially from the 2013 World Energy Congress in October.


Mr Jean-Marie Dauger, from France, has been elected Chair of the Communications and Outreach Committee.  He has been a member of the WEC Programme Committee and is currently Executive Vice-President of GDF Suez.  Mr José da Costa Carvalho Neto, Chairman of the Brazilian utility Eletrobras, will come in to chair the Programme Committee.  Brian Statham, from South Africa has been re-elected for a second term as Studies Committee Chair.


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World Energy Congress roundtable in Abu Dhabi discusses major global priorities

Posted on 08 11 2012



Senior energy representatives from the global and regional energy sectors debate the “energy trilemma” and prospects for Daegu 2013


ABU DHABI, 18 September 2012 – World Energy Council (WEC) Chairman Pierre Gadonneix and the Daegu 2013 Organising Committee Executive Vice-Chairman Younghoon David Kim today convened a roundtable as part of WEC’s Energy Trilemma forum in Abu Dhabi.


The roundtable discussed the three dimensions of the “energy trilemma”: security, access and affordability and environmental impact. These areas will underpin the “Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today” theme of the upcoming World Energy Congress, taking place in Daegu, South Korea, in October 2013.


Among the headline themes at the roundtable were the steps required to secure the supply of energy to a rapidly increasing population with growing energy needs.  The combination of energy technologies was at the heart of the discussion, balancing fluctuating demands in oil, coal and nuclear, together with the expanding gas market and an ever increasing focus on low carbon options.


Masdar CEO Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, a confirmed speaker at Daegu 2013, welcomed WEC officials on a tour of Masdar City and visit to Masdar headquarters.


Pierre Gadonneix, Chairman of the World Energy Council, commented: “The world is now facing a crucial need for renewed governance at both national and international levels if we are to address the world’s energy security. The Congress will not only gather experts from across the energy spectrum, it will also convene leaders from across the globe to put into action the strategies for a more secure, accessible and environmentally sustainable energy supply.”


Commenting on WEC’s visit to the Abu Dhabi, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, said: “I am delighted to welcome the World Energy Council and the World Energy Congress Organising Committee to Abu Dhabi and Masdar. The Middle East’s energy market is quickly evolving with several nations exploring alternative energy sources—including renewable and peaceful nuclear energy—to strengthen their economies and meet their growing energy demands. We look forward to addressing the region’s role in advancing clean energy deployment and its path towards a diversified energy mix   with the wider industry at Daegu 2013”.


Younghoon David Kim, Executive Vice-Chairman, World Energy Congress Daegu 2013 Organizing Committee and Chairman and CEO of the Daesung Group, said: “The global remit of the Congress calls for cooperation on a truly global scale. Korea and Asia’s growing links with the energy market in the Middle East have already been cemented with this visit and we hope to continue dialogue on the role of both regions on the world energy stage.”


The World Energy Congress is the energy sector’s premier international event, held every three years under the auspices of the World Energy Council, which consists of 93 national committees representing more than 3,000 member organizations including governments, industry, professional institutions and associations, and non-profit groups.


Next year’s event will be only the second World Energy Congress to be held in East Asia in the event’s 90-year history.  Delegates from across the global energy and related sectors are expected to include government ministers, heads of state and the industry leaders of today and tomorrow from both developed and developing nations.  The event is being run by the World Energy Council and the Daegu 2013 Organizing Committee, drawn from its Korean membership.

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Candidates for World Energy Council Chair

Posted on 01 04 2012




Two candidates are running for the position of Chair of the World Energy Council: Marie-Jose Nadeau (Canada) and Younghoon David Kim (Korea (Rep.)).


Marie-José Nadeau is the Chair of the World Energy Council’s Communications and Outreach Committee. She also holds the position of Executive Vice President – Corporate Affairs and Secretary General for Hydro-Québec. In this capacity, she is in charge of strategic planning, legal affairs, communications and public affairs, government and institutional affairs, industrial security as well as environment.


Younghoon David Kim was previously World Energy Council Vice Chair for Asia Pacific and South Asia, which entitled him to become an Honorary Officer. He has been Chairman and CEO of the Daesung Group since 2000. Before holding the post of Chairman and CEO, Chairman Kim held the offices of Vice President and then President at Daesung. He has worked in the energy sector for over 20 years.


The election will take place during the WEC Executive Assembly in Monaco, 5-8 November 2012. The person elected, who will succeed current WEC Chair, Pierre Gadonneix, will serve a year as WEC Chair-elect before being officially seated at the end of the World Energy Congress in Daegu, October 2013.


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