South Korea planning heavy investments in renewable energies

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The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced that the government would be making the huge investments into the whole renewable energy industry within the country, in an attempt to stimulate growth in South Korea’s clean energy sector. In total, the government plans to invest a meaty 42 trillion won (USD36.6 billion) over the next four and a half years, which will go into renewable energy infrastructure, innovation and capacity expansions.

Within the announcement, the ministry stated that US$28.8 billion would be invested directly into the renewables sector, US$3.9 billion would be invested into energy storage, US$2.2 billion would be invested into smart metering, and $1.7 billion would go to environmentally friendly power development. As part of the investment, the government plans to build renewable power plans with a combined capacity of 13 GW.

The move comes as the government aims to increase South Korea’s clean energy economy, and the percentage that renewable energies will have of the country’s energy mix. To keep up the drive for the planned investment, the government has also increased the target for renewables within the country’s energy mix by 2020, from 6% to 7%.

“Due to the rise in RPS, additional 8.5 trillion won will be invested into renewable energy development facilities and a new renewable power station capable of producing 300 million kilowatts of electricity will also be built,” said Chae Hee-bong, the deputy minister for energy and resource policies. “New renewable energy sector is expected to create jobs for 30,000 people and 12 trillion won in domestic demand.”

Solar’s role

It was not made clear by the ministry exactly what role solar PV would be playing in investments, or how the investment would be split between the various different renewable technologies. However, within the announcement, the ministry did reveal a change to the regulations governing the selling of electricity generated by solar power.

Within the new regulations, individuals generating solar energy will be able to sell 100% of the electricity produced as opposed to just 50% previously. Additionally, businesses producing electricity from PV systems will now be able to sell the electricity for profits.

Following the announcement of the renewable energy investment, and in keeping with a stride towards a clean economy, the ministry went on to reveal plans to close down 10 of the country’s coal-fired power plants by 2025. This is another move to get closer to achieving the country’s target of reducing its carbon emissions by 37% by 2030.