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[Newsletter Vol.16] Hot Issue After Paris Agreement: How Far Northeast Asian Supergrid Project Has Come 2017-05-20
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Hot Issue After Paris Agreement: 
How Far Northeast Asian Supergrid Project Has Come
Environment Track scheduled for June 1 at Jeju Forum 2017

The proposed development of a Northeast Asia Supergrid, Asia’s most high-profile response 
to climate change to tackle its huge impact on the global industry ecosystem, will be 
discussed at the upcoming Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity 2017. The debate will take 
place on June 1, the second day of this year’s Jeju Forum, in a session titled “Supergrid and 
New Green Opportunities in East Asia” starting at 4:40 pm.

KIM Sang-Hyup, chairman of Coalition for Our Common Future and visiting professor at 
KAIST’s Graduate School of Green Growth, will moderate the session, which will have panel 
discussions between CHO Hwan-eik, CEO of the Korea Electric Power Corporation; Robert N. 
STAVINS, Albert Pratt professor of Business & Government at Harvard Kennedy School and 
an expert on international climate agreements; and Frank RIJSBERMAN, director-general of 
Global Green Growth Institute.

CEO CHO will talk about the concept and significance of a supergrid as well as about the 
evolution of related technologies. Director-general RIJSBERMAN will express his views on 
how to address the global energy crisis through cooperation in green technology. Professor 
STAVINS will explore the possibilities of collaboration on climate change policies among 
Korea, China and Japan and present ways to initiate new cooperation for sharing a common 
vision for Asia’s future to better respond to climate change.    

Professor STAVINS, also director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, has been 
a consultant to government agencies such as the United States Agency for International 
Development, academic and international organizations, including the United Nations and 
the World Bank, and many others. He is a world-renowned scholar in the fields of 
environmental economics, market-based policy instruments, innovations and pollution 
control technologies, benefit-cost analysis of environmental regulations, and new emission 
reduction technologies such as carbon capture.

The concept of a Northeast Asian supergrid was first proposed by SON Jeong-ui, chairman of 
SoftBank Group Corp., following the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011. Son envisions a 
regional power grid transmitting electricity produced by wind and solar farms in Mongolia to 
South Korea and then to Japan. The power companies of Korea, China, Japan and Mongolia 
have completed a preliminary feasibility study on a demonstration project interconnecting 
their power systems after signing a memorandum of understanding last year. They now 
discuss how to develop supergrid business models, coordinate government policies, and 
improve laws and regulations.

How to forge a strategic alliance between Korea, China and Japan, which have had different 
visions on security issues, is cited as one of the main issues of the supergrid project. Climate 
change experts say that supergrids would facilitate rapprochement between the Northeast 
Asian countries, expecting that diplomatic capabilities will hold the key to their success.

This year’s Jeju Forum will not only provide opportunities to discuss the proposed supergrid, 
but also the new global climate regime. Former U.S. Vice President Al GORE is scheduled to 
deliver a speech at a special session, “The Challenge and Opportunity of Climate Change: Is a 
Better Growth Possible?” at 9:00 a.m. on June 1. The American former politician, who has 
called for carbon-free power production, is expected to deliver a message on Jeju’s “Carbon 
Free Island” project as well as speaking about how to balance nature preservation and 
economic growth.

The environment track includes other sessions under the titles “Asia’s Sustainable and Green 
Growth through Forest Cooperation” (1:00 p.m. on May 31) and “How to Improve Eco-
efficiency for Achieving Carbon-free Society” (2:50 p.m. on June 2). They will be attended by 
Batbold DORJGURKHEM, director of WWP Mongolia; António ABREU, vice chair of European 
Environment Advisory Council; and Mahesh PRADHAN, chief of the Program Management, 
International Environmental Technology Center, UNEP, among others.