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SK chief renews green push in Europe

March 6, 2023 - 15:14 By Jie Ye-eun
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won (right) meets with Vestas CEO Henrik Andersen (left) in Denmark on Thursday. (SK Group)

SK Group said Monday that Chairman Chey Tae-won met with major business leaders in Spain, Portugal and Denmark to strengthen cooperation in green energy during his recent visit to Europe as a presidential special envoy.

Chey had a meeting with Danish wind turbine company Vestas Chief Executive Officer Henrik Andersen on Thursday to discuss ways to expand the two sides’ cooperation in the offshore wind power sector.

The SK chairman made various business proposals, including the two companies jointly making a foray into Southeast Asia using Korea as a hub, as well as cooperation in development and sales of green hydrogen using offshore wind power and water electrolysis technologies.

Andersen agreed to make efforts for offshore wind power cooperation with SK, pointing out that Korea is the optimal business base in the Asia-Pacific region. He also expressed hopes of further expanding cooperation in other sectors such as green electricity, according to SK officials.

During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January, Vestas announced its plan to invest $300 million to build a wind turbine manufacturing facility in Korea and relocate its Asia-Pacific regional headquarters here.

Chey also met with Jakob Poulsen, CEO of Danish investment firm Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, on the same day and discussed a wide range of topics on green energy, from wind power and energy storage systems to hydrogen and small modular reactors.

The SK chief suggested in-depth discussions on stable hydrogen production and export plans through offshore wind power to CIP, while the Danish company that specializes in infrastructure investment showed interest in joint investment and development in floating offshore wind power and green hydrogen, the SK officials said.

CIP has been engaged in multigigawatt wind power development projects in Shinan, South Jeolla Province. It partnered with SK Group’s energy unit SK E&S to obtain a license for a wind power plant in the southwestern coastal city.

“By building a partnership at the corporate level on a sound footing of the ‘Green Growth Alliance’ established between the Korean and Danish governments, we were able to provide an opportunity for both countries to lead the green energy transformation throughout the green value chain,” an SK official said.

During the meeting with Filipe Silva, CEO of the energy firm Galp, in Portugal on the next day, Chey discussed ways to expand cooperation in various sectors, including batteries, hydrogen and renewable energy.

As both sides agreed on similar business transformation strategies for green growth, they shared the need to explore opportunities for cooperation across renewable energy and circular economy, the SK officials said.

Meanwhile, the SK chairman, who doubles as chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, met with Spanish Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Reyes Maroto on Wednesday during his six-day visit to three European nations. He proposed active mutual investment and expansion of manpower exchanges between the two countries.