Power Transmission Links Restored After 59 Years

Power transmission lines not used since May 1948 have been reopened to supply electricity to North Korea. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy and the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) held a commemoration ceremony for the completion of the Pyonghwa (Peace) Substation on June 21st. The substation will supply electricity to a first-phrase zone (3,3mn square meters) in the Kaesung Industrial Complex. Kim Young Joo, the Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Energy, Lee Won Gul, the CEO of KEPCO, and Lee Yoon Sung, a member of National Assembly participated in the ceremony.

Natural sources of electricity were abundant in North Korea before the Korean War because most electronic power facilities built during Japanese colonial period were concentrated in the North. Southern provinces of the Korean peninsula received electricity from the North through the 154kV power-transmission line between Pyongyang and Susaek Substation in Seoul until May 14, 1948.

The new substation was completed at a cost of 35bl dollars. The line runs 16km from Munsan Substation in Paju, Gyeonggi, South Korea, through the DMZ, and terminates at the Kaesung Complex. It consists of 48 pylons, 154kV power-transmission wire, and outdoor substations in Kaesung. The substation is supplying 100 thousand kilowatts of electricity to approximately 300 factories located in the first-phrase zone of the Kaesung Complex. As demand increases, the amount of electricity supplied by KEPCO could double. KEPCO has already been supplying electricity to specific factories in the Kaesung Complex since March, 2005.

In his congratulatory speech, Kim Young Joo compared “the historic linkage of power transmission lines to repairing blood vessels between the South and North, which were ruptured in May 14th, 1948.” He added that “Completing the construction of Pyonghwa Substation will strengthen the foundation of Korean Peninsula peace. North-South cooperation can flourish by supplying a stable source of electricity to the Kaesung Complex.”

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