North Koreans hear about New Mexico renewables

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO - North Korean diplomats expressed interest in utility-scale solar and wind power production during a briefing on renewable energy in New Mexico.

The representatives from the North Korean mission to the United Nations spent three hours hearing from renewable energy company officials at the Santa Fe Community College.

"They led me to believe that they need to enhance their utility infrastructure and that they were looking at renewables as a possible way," said Randy Grissom, director of the college's Sustainable Technologies Center.

The diplomats talked privately with Gov.

Bill Richardson about international affairs. Richardson said the meeting was a "hopeful sign" of improving relations with North Korea, which want direct negotiations with the United States.

Grissom said the diplomats asked questions about the costs and efficiencies of renewable energy technologies.

"I think that the utility-scale aspects of concentrated solar and wind were appealing," said Grissom. "They did seem quite interested in learning about alternative fuels."

Grissom escorted Minister Kim Myong Gil on a tour of a biomass boiler that burns wood chips to produce power for heating and cooling the college's main building. Kim did not take questions from reporters.

Grissom said North Korea relied on imported fossil fuels but has at least one wind farm for producing energy.



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