Seoul stays committed to nuclear phase-out, to raise renewable share to 35%

2019.06.04 14:53:01 | 2019.06.04 15:44:09

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The South Korean government remained committed to its plan to phase out nuclear and fossil fuel and replace power sourcing to renewables to maximum 35 percent by 2040.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Tuesday announced its third long-term energy roadmap until 2040, with specific targets set under five key factors including consumption, production, system, industry and infrastructure.

Under the new initiative, the government plans to reduce total energy consumption by 18.6 percent to 171.8 million tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) by 2040. One TOE is defined as the amount of energy released by burning one tonne of crude oil.

The government is also seeking to generate more electricity from renewable sources like solar, wind and hydropower, with an aim to raise their percentage in the country’s energy mix to up to 35 percent from the current 8 percent. President Moon Jae-in, in his bold energy initiative to steer the country away from nuclear energy, had previously set a target to boost the share of renewables to 20 percent by 2030.

Nuclear reactors will be decommissioned once their design life is done and the country won’t build any more beyond the current two under construction. Coal-fired power plants, which are responsible for 40 percent of Korea’s power generation, would be drastically reduced.

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The government has also set out to improve energy efficiency by 38 percent during the same period and has outlined a plan to regulate energy demand by sector.

In the industrial sector, it intends to forge agreements with energy-intensive businesses to encourage them to take more aggressive efforts to cut consumption.

To promote energy saving in buildings, it plans to implement the Top Runner Initiative, a government scheme launched in countries like Japan and Germany that seeks to improve energy efficiency by awarding a Top Runner label to the most energy-efficient models on the market.

Fluorescent light bulbs would also be phased out and replaced with the more efficient LED lighting by 2028.

In the transportation sector, it aims to introduce a new fuel efficiency standard for mid- to large-size cars by 2022 and improve the fuel economy for passenger vehicles.

The energy pricing model would be rationalized, with a newly-formed outside committee to regularly monitor energy costs to factor them into prices and taxes.

By Lim Sung-hyun and Kim Hyo-jin

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