South Korea announces $1.94bn clean energy plan

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South Korea’s government has this week announced ambitious plans to accelerate the country’s clean energy market with an investment of two trillion won ($1.94 billion).

Korean president Park Geun-hye revealed details of the scheme at a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Council on Science & Technology, according to sources at Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Details of the scheme include the creation of six renewable energy-related businesses, one of which will focus solely on developing South Korea’s fledgling solar lease market. Another will involve the development of an electric car hire scheme. Overall, the plans should create 10,000 clean energy jobs by 2017, according to the ministry.

"The country needs to move away from regulation-oriented emission reduction plans that often place additional burdens on its businesses, and instead create new business models that can help fight climate change in a new and creative way through voluntary participation of the private sector," read a ministry statement.

South Korea has recently agreed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, and sees solar power as a primary means towards achieving its goal.

The solar energy leasing service will enable ordinary households and commercial entities to lease solar panels from suppliers for a set fee before generating clean solar power on their rooftops and taking a stake in the income generated through the sale of their emission rights. Next year, South Korea is set to introduce a carbon trading market that will help support its solar leasing scheme. The ministry added that solar lease customers will also enjoy reduced utility bills, too.

Another of the six renewable energy-related businesses will include an energy management service designed to assist companies that wish to set up an energy storage system and engage in a new energy market where they will be permitted to store electricity when the price is low, and sell it back to the grid when demand increases.