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The People’s Virtual Power Plant


The Korea Power Exchange (KPX) set students and parents as policy targets and systematically connected electricity-saving activities with the performance of volunteer hours which reflected in grades of school students. This program, which estimates electricity savings as a service rather than money, is leading to changes in consciousness that are perceived as social values in the future. The People's Virtual Power Plant will eventually be fused with advanced technology (blockchain, AI, big data) to develop into national institutions.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Last 50 years, Korea has grown its economy through strong industrial policies and is planning to achieve an average national income of USD 30,000.00. Among these 50 years, it is noticeable that Korea has led the global market in many of fields especially on manufacturing, finance industry and the information technology. This can be interpreted as Korea has focused and centralized on industries that require tremendous amount of electricity, and thus produce a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. In order to reduce the constructional risk of the power plants and electricity cost and also to protect the natural environment, KPX has developed an electricity conservation program that all citizens can participate and experience. This electricity conservation program is a demand management program and considered to be different with any other electricity conservation program.

It is quite similar with many of western countries that the elementary, middle school and high school students' volunteer work is reflected to their grades. KPX was able to include students' electricity-saving activities as volunteer work and can be reflected to their grades based on their hours devoted to this activity. This policy does not require additional finances to initiate and thus this program has provided great satisfaction to both students and the Power Authorities. This program has enabled to change the concept that the electricity-saving as a volunteer service rather than money, and furthermore this program is changing the concept of electricity-saving as social values.

We acknowledge that Korean students want to concentrate on the college entrance exam and more studying time and are not inclined to perform the physical and time-consuming volunteer activities. However, the Virtual Power Plant suggests the volunteer activities the students and their families tend to be more gladly in perform.

Students now contribute in the following ways:

- In everyday life, finding the waste of electricity and taking a certifying photo : Adjusting the street light time to season, etc.

- Reducing the smartphone charge by controlling the amount to which they are texting and gaming

- Reducing the game time on their personal computers

- Proposing to measure electricity of their activities

- Proposing the government policy : Electricity usage compared to last month and year in electricity bill

- Moving the their family laundry time to the cheapest electricity bill time.

The People's Virtual Power Plant will be fused with an advanced technology (block chain, artificial intelligence, big data) to develop into national systems and institutions. KPX has a plan to do the small-scaled project the next year(2019) and we are currently setting a budget.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

Korea has one of the most power plants in the world with a power plant capacity of 117,966MW(Generation and GHG emissions are 10th in the world) As a result, greenhouse gas emissions from the power generation sector account for 40% of the total. The Korean government saves about 5,000 MW at a cost of $ 100 million in Demand Response Market.
2 million Korean students are required to perform 60 hours of voluntary service each year in middle school and high school. However, Korean students tend to concentrate on studying rather than on other activities, so they tend to be more easily in carrying out volunteer activities. In addition, the types of volunteer activities are not varied and are not performed in accordance with the original intention. Therefore, linking volunteer activities, which are social values, with electricity conservation is the purpose of the original service activity. It is also an innovative policy that leads to greenhouse gas reduction, environmental protection.

What is the current status of your innovation?

KPX has designed an administrative system to secure trust among administrative organizations through our research activities. and developed an objective and quantifiable evaluation method and a formula to convert electricity saving activities into social service activities. KPX built a pilot system and confirmed policy realities by involving real students and the citizens. Through this process, various ideas suggested by the participants were applied. KPX has also created an advisory board to verify that these innovative systems work with the original concepts. KPX is also evolving with feedback from participants and consultants and discovering various electricity conservation activities, creating and verifying additional conversion formulas, and expanding on the basis of many cases. The goal of this innovation is to make students more accessible and easier to achieve, and when 2 million students are reduced to 1 KW each, reaching the equivalent of two nuclear power plants.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

The general public, including students and parents, was strongly motivated to recognize the saving of everyday life as a vlounteer activity. In addition, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, which conducts volunteer activities, thought that it was a great innovation to approach stagnant service activities with a new perspective. Therefore, the Ministry of PAS actively cooperated with the blockchain through system linkage and inter-agency authentication.

Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

* Citizens: Students, parents, and people who are interested in volunteering have come to understand how saving electricity in their lives can benefit the country.

* Government Officials: Creating an idea-based innovation that solves large-scale national problems without funding.

* Civil Society Association: participating in establishing activity standards, they have become more active and interested.

* Companies : The tangible effect of realizing corporate social responsibility.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

As a result of the pilot project, most of the pilot students participated in the pilot project of Naju city in Korea. Electricity saving activities uploaded to the system are measured in about 2,000 cases. The amount of electricity savings achieved by these households and their surrounding electricity-saving and related savings activities is approximately 10,000 KW. This is equivalent to the construction of one small sized power plant.
In 2021, which is the completion point of the three-year project in which service targets are secured nationwide in the future, publicity for the frontline schools can be continuously achieved. As more specific examples of activities are secured, the electricity savings for the next three years will be 20 times the current level. It is expected to have the effect equivalent to the construction effect of two nuclear power plants.

Challenges and Failures

For students who are not accustomed to electricity conservation activities, there was a difficulty in joining the National Power Plant Site as a member and promoting their use. We collaborated with the Ministry of Government Administration and the local education administration offices to conduct public relations activities. At the beginning of the service, we introduced the service to parents through a family correspondence to increase student participation. In addition, various public relations activities such as the award of best case of electricity saving activity at school level were carried out.

In addition, we have organized a systematic and rational reward system with local university researchers to establish logic in which specific electricity saving activities and cases are converted to reasonable mileage. Students and parents were aware of the concept of compensation for their activities and made it possible to actually experience it. The reward system has been expanded.

Conditions for Success

Planning a policy by combining the actual compensation system through the block chain with the social value of electricity saving and volunteer activities is a key factor for success. Until now, educational activities have always been centered on altruistic volunteer activities based on the ideal of books. Therefore, it has been difficult to motivate the public and students to participate voluntarily as the actual value of the students' service activities or compensation is considered to be non-educational.
First, it was important motivation to calculate the electricity saving activity as the service activity score and to systematically configure the system that the service activity point can be converted into the future monetary value. Second, management of students' personal information, and conversion and storage of points were realized through blockchain. It is one of the success factors of this policy that it is planned to be used as a means of substantial value trading.


The national power plant model based on the block chain will be extended to the service for the students nationwide as well as the service for the elementary and junior high school students in the Jeonnam region through the three - year plan. In the third year, it is extended to a coin service based on a block chain. If so, these points can be used at substantial economic value through linkage with local coins in planning or running in the Korean local government. In addition, it is possible to expand the service to integrate services for the citizens' actions and compensation for various energy sources such as gas and oil as well as electricity.

Lessons Learned

In a complex modern society, government-led energy saving and enlightenment activities are limited to the public sphere, and they will disappear after they have stayed in formal practice. Efforts should be made to improve the awareness level of electricity conservation through continuous enlightenment activities, publicity and education. However, it is not easy to practice the waste of electric power and saving in preparation for the global environmental problems that are currently required by publicity of public values alone.

The NPP has combined these public and social needs with the needs of the educational scene.
We started with a plan that allows students to receive practical benefits by starting with students, making them familiar and familiar with the lives of the people, and converting them into economic values through the technology of block chains. We started with a plan that allows us to receive the actual benefits by converting social activities to economic value through the technology called block chain. In this system, the practice of community citizenship can be transformed into economic value and rewarded. An innovative approach to equilibrium exchange of social and economic values using a technology called block chain can be used to plan the actual compensation system for various forms of public interest activities. This can provide a dramatic opportunity to expand the passive involvement of past social and public policy.
The public sector policy planning officer should always be prepared to understand and learn about new IT technologies and trends and policies. When planning a policy, the person in charge should innovate in finding policy goals and solutions within the existing infrastructure and framework. Continuous attempts to integrate new IT technologies, trends and policies into a continuous, convergent and divergent planning can have dramatic policy effects that overcome the existing limitations.

Year: 2018
Level of Government: National/Federal government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
Call for Innovations Call for Innovations
This case was submitted as part of the Call for Innovations, an annual partnership initiative between OPSI and the UAE Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Government Innovation (MBRCGI)

Innovation provided by:


Date Published:

9 February 2018

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