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IDEA, Korea District Heating Association Sign Cooperation Agreement; Groups Pledge to Collaborate on Energy Research, Information Exchange.

BOSTON -- The Boston-based International District Energy Association (IDEA) and the Korea District Heating Association (KDHA) have entered into a formal cooperation agreement, pledging to collaborate on research activities and the exchange of technological information and business practices. The agreement was signed March 16 at the U.S. Department of Commerce offices in Washington, D.C., by Robert P. Thornton, chief executive officer and president, IDEA, and Young-Nam Kim, chief executive officer and president, KDHA.

The signing ceremony was hosted by Michelle O'Neill, deputy under secretary for international trade, who oversees the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration. (For more on ITA, see

The cooperation agreement, or 'memorandum of understanding,' states the organizations will exchange information in the areas of district heating and cooling and renewable energy; designate managers to implement and coordinate collaboration; and work together to establish an IDEA Far East chapter to be based in Seoul, South Korea. The chapter's goal will be facilitating the exchange of technical and industry information and assisting IDEA members in better serving the global district energy community.

IDEA initiated the agreement with the KDHA as part of its participation in the U.S. Department of Commerce Market Development Cooperator Program. In 2005 IDEA received a grant through the department's International Trade Administration to help small- and medium-sized U.S. member companies provide goods and services in the Middle East, China and Korea.

According to the IDEA's Thornton, Korea is a strategic market sector for the exchange and promotion of U.S. technologies, products and services in the global expansion of district cooling, district heating and combined heat and power. In particular, Korean district energy companies are interested in district cooling system development and the integration of renewable and fuel-flexible technologies like wood waste, biomass and landfill gas for district energy facilities. U.S. systems can learn from Korean experience in serving large blocks of residential buildings and integrating multiple heat sources into larger district networks.

KDHA President Kim also serves as president and chief executive officer of Korea District Heating Corp. (KDHC), a large utility company that owns, operates and manages 14 district heating systems in greater Seoul, South Korea. In 2005 KDHC had annual revenues of 487.5 billion won (more than $501 million). The company is seeking to expand its business with the goal of providing district cooling and heating services to 1.5 million households nationwide by 2015 and generating annual sales of 1.5 trillion won (more than $1.5 billion).

In 2002, the energy-saving effect of KDHC's district energy system was a 53 percent reduction in fuel consumption in its service area - approximately 663,000 tons carbon dioxide - compared with conventional heating systems, resulting in $342 million of avoided fuel costs. Additional environmental benefits of KDHC's system included a 23 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared with conventional heating systems - approximately 1 million tons of sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide and dust, plus 49 percent less carbon dioxide.

Kim was joined at the agreement signing by other representatives of the Korean district energy industry, including Tae-Il Han, vice president, KDHC; Kwi Hyun Kahng, manager, KDHC; and Dong-Kyu Park, commercial attache of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy of Korea.

While in the U.S. for the signing, the Korean delegation visited three district energy facilities to gain insight into the integration of combined heat and power and broader business opportunities for large-scale district cooling: Consolidated Edison's 660 MW combined heat and power facility in New York City, home to the world's largest district steam system; the General Services Administration's Central Heating and Refrigeration Facility, which serves more than 100 buildings with district heating service and multiple buildings with district cooling service in downtown Washington, D.C.; and Thermal Chicago Corp., the largest district cooling system in the U.S., with more than 100,000 tons of cooling capacity, serving buildings in Chicago's downtown Loop.

With headquarters outside of Boston, Mass., the nearly 900-member IDEA was founded in 1909 and comprises district heating and cooling system executives, managers, engineers, consultants and equipment suppliers from 21 countries. Its core mission is to support the growth and utilization of district energy as a means to conserve fuel and increase energy efficiency to improve the global environment. For more on IDEA, go to
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 22, 2006
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