Incoming govt of Seoul to up role of nuclear reactors for energy sourcing

2022.04.29 14:09:43 | 2022.04.29 14:10:28

Kim Gi-heung, deputy chief spokesperson of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s transition committee [Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]이미지 확대

Kim Gi-heung, deputy chief spokesperson of President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s transition committee [Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]

South Korea’s incoming government will realign to energy mix to up sourcing from nuclear reactors and adjust supplies of renewables during energy instability, according to the Presidential Transition Committee.

The new administration will remain committed to the country’s carbon neutrality goal of cutting emissions by 40 percent by 2030, but will adjust the means to achieve the goal by raising the percentage of nuclear power used in total electricity generation, under its five-point policy agenda for the energy sector.

The keystone is an adjustment to the strict phase-out of nuclear reactors and rapid transition to renewables under the Moon Jae-in government at a time energy crisis is looming due to spike in oil and gap prices.

Specifically, the construction of Shin Hanwool 3 and 4 reactors will be resumed, and the life of the existing nuclear power fleet will be extended. The current Moon Jae-in administration halted the construction and shuttered aging reactors earlier under its nuclear power phase-out policy.

With regards to renewable energy sources, the committee pointed out that the Moon administration failed to boost the competitiveness of Korean energy firms, only promoting its plan to increase the portion of renewables to 30 percent by 2030. The Korean solar power market is currently dominated by cheap Chinese products and the role of Korean wind power firms remains marginal, said the committee, adding the new government will strengthen partnerships with American companies in the development of future energy solutions like small modular reactors (SMRs) in addition to renewables.

Over the longer-term, the new government will seek efficiency in electricity demand as it believes that reducing energy demand is as important as reducing carbon emissions. To this end, the new government plans to facilitate energy efficiency measures in homes and buildings and foster companies dedicated to energy demand management services.

The committee also emphasized the need to normalize power tariff as a rise in energy generation costs is not immediately reflected in electricity bills, resulting to a massive loss at state-owned utility company KEPCO. The company reported a record operating loss of 5.9 trillion won ($4.65 billion) last year.

By Song Min-geun and Minu Kim

[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]