South Korea announces plan to shift to renewable energy sources

South Korea plans to boost the share of energy sources and natural gas, while gradually reducing its reliance on coal and nuclear power, from 2017 to 2030, the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced.

Under the draft of the 8th Basic Plan for Long-term Electricity Supply and Demand, the installed capacity of renewables would increase to 58.5 GW from the current 11.3 GW, with the growth mainly coming from solar and wind power. The total capacity of LNG power plants would expand to 47.5 GW from 37.4 GW, while coal-fired power plants’ capacity will grow to 39.9 GW from 36.8 GW.

Meanwhile, the installed capacity of nuclear power generation would contract to 20.4 GW from 22.5 GW, as five new reactors enter operation and 11 aging reactors are taken offline during the period.

Under the new energy roadmap, natural gas and renewable energy sources will have a greater share in the generation mix in terms of installed capacity. Renewable energy would account for 33.7% of the installed capacity in 2030 – up from 9.7% this year. The combined capacity of nuclear reactors and coal-fired power plants would represent around a third of the mix – down from 50.9%.

The government also aims to generate 20% of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. The share of natural gas is expected to be 18.8%, while those of coal and nuclear power are 36.1% and 23.9%, respectively.

Implementation of the new plan would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions down to 237 million tons by 2030 – below the existing target of 258 million tons.

The plan projects no significant factors for electricity rate hikes from energy transition toward renewable energy until 2022. Rates may rise by 10.9% by 2030 – a slower pace than the 13.9% increase in the past 13 years.

The eighth basic plan has been drafted over a year, involving around 70 experts in 43 meetings. It was submitted to the trade and energy subcommittee of the National Assembly’s Trade, Industry, Energy, SMEs, and Startups Committee on December 14.

The proposed plan will undergo a public hearing on Dec. 26, and will be confirmed after a review by the electricity policy commission.