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Sources of funding still unclear for KEPCO’s university

The state-run Korea Electric Power Corp., which is currently seeking to open its own university in South Jeolla Province in 2022, is expected to face hurdles in opening on time amid financial and administrative challenges, industry watchers said Monday.

In January, KEPCO selected the Booyoung Country Club golf course in Naju, 355 kilometers south of Seoul, as the site of the planned university.

Under KEPCO’s vision, the university will have some 1,000 students and 100 professors, with the opening date scheduled for March 2022. The official name is yet to be selected.

KEPCO headquarters in Naju, South Jeolla Province (Yonhap)
KEPCO headquarters in Naju, South Jeolla Province (Yonhap)

The university will seek to become the country’s top institution in the field of energy studies in 20 years, the company said.

The state-run firm, however, has not yet found ways to raise the funds needed to establish the university, which are estimated at 500 billion won ($448 million). KEPCO also needs 50 billion won annually to run the school.

“Currently, there are no fixed plans on where to secure the fund,” a KEPCO official said. “The fund, however, will be shared by the central and regional governments.”

As a separate law needs to be passed to make it possible to financially assist KEPCO’s university, a delay is anticipated as the Liberty Korea Party, the main opposition, is currently criticizing the project.

Supporters of KEPCO’s university claim that the university is needed to foster the country’s capabilities in the field of energy studies.

The university is also considered a flagship project of the Moon Jae-in administration for the southwestern region.

The South Korean government has been rolling out various new energy policy guidelines, such as breaking away from nuclear energy and rolling out what it calls the hydrogen economy policy. (Yonhap)