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South Korea planning big boost of renewables and offshore wind

Wed 02 May 2018 by David Foxwell

South Korea planning big boost of renewables and offshore wind
South Korea could become an offshore wind leader in Asia if ambitious plans to invest in renewables come to fruition

In a little more than a decade, South Korea could have offshore wind capacity of 13 GW if ambitious plans laid out in its latest plan for electricity supply and demand come to fruition.

South Korea aims to triple the share of renewables in the country’s power mix by 2030 which translates to adding about 47 GW of new wind and solar capacity, according to the government’s latest draft policy roadmap.

The country will also cut back the share of coal and nuclear in its electricity supply – although not as sharply as expected – under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy’s (MOTIE) draft of the Eighth Basic Plan for Electricity Supply and Demand, which provides South Korea’s power development roadmap for the next 15 years.

According to information from the Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC’s) latest Global Wind Report, renewables will account for 27.3% of Korea’s total power capacity in 2030, increasing nearly threefold from 9.7% this year. The share of renewables in power generation will increase accordingly from 6.2% now to 20% in 2030.

Although the draft does not mention specific sector targets, analysts have estimated that South Korea will be looking to reach 5 GW of onshore wind by that date, about five times the total in place now, and boost its nascent offshore base to a massive 13 GW.

MOTIE’s plan aims to reduce complex steps for renewable projects to seek permits. It also promises to build transmission infrastructure ‘pre-emptively,’ including grid connections and substations to spur wind and solar development. Coal and nuclear will still account for 60% of Korea’s power generation under the roadmap.

GWEC said the new targets to cap coal and phase out nuclear are less ambitious than those previously advocated by the newly-elected President Moon Jae-in, who had pledged to ditch all nine new coal projects and eight reactors to be built in the coming years. Even so, a surge of renewable energy will help South Korea to cut 237M tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and limit particulate pollution.

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