SK Inc. Green Investment Center head Kim Moo-hwan, left, and SK Energy’s Solution & Platform Business Division chief Kang Dong-soo, right, pose with Atom Power CEO Ryan Kennedy after signing a deal at an SK office in Seoul, Wednesday. Photo courtesy of SK Group

Korean conglomerate keeps investing in energy

South Korea’s SK Group, which is second largest here trailing just Samsung Group, invested in two U.S. energy companies this week alone.

The Seoul-based conglomerate announced on Aug. 18 that SK Inc. and SK Energy would spend $150 million to acquire U.S. energy solution enterprise Atom Power.

Earlier this week, the group disclosed its plan to invest $250 million in TerraPower, a Chicago-headquartered developer of next-generation small modular reactors.

Since its foundation in 2014, Atom Power has developed the solid state circuit breaker, which is necessary for electric vehicle charging and energy solution businesses.

SK Group said that the Atom Power product collects data, including the amount of electricity consumption, solar power generation, and electric car battery charged amount.

The big data on electricity is expected to be useful not only in households but also in estimating the power generation and consumption modalities per region.

SK Group vies to take advantage of Atom Power’s technology to offer electric car charging platforms optimized for apartments and multi-complex shopping malls across the globe.

“Our mission is to power more intelligent electrification of everything. The EV market is massive, rapidly growing, and desperate for a new way to scale, drive revenue, and accelerate adoption. Our technology is the perfect solution for this perfect storm,” Atom Power CEO Ryan Kennedy said.

“SK Group’s partnership helps us expedite and scale power delivery for a broad range of commercial and residential applications,” he said.

Chief of SK Energy’s Solution & Platform Business Division Kang Dong-soo said that the company looks forward to the great synergy between the company’s know-how and Atom Power’s technical prowess.

“It will be a great addition to SK Energy’s road to becoming an eco-friendly energy solution and mobility platform service provider,” he said.

Observers point out that SK Group’s units strive to make their presence felt in the EV charging market.

“The charging market will expand in line with the increasing demand for electric cars. As a result, the rivalry will get stiffer to preempt the market,” Prof. Kim Pil-soo at Daelim University said.

“SK Group appears to target the charging market. It is expected to tap into global markets, including the United States and Europe.”