South Korea to raise renewables target to 129 GW by 2040


South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) has unveiled a draft of its third Energy Basic Plan, which is targeting a renewable energy share of up to 35% in the country’s power mix by 2040. Although the ministry pointed to a lack of available land for projects and low levels of solar radiation as factors that could hinder clean energy development, it also said that the country has the potential to install 103 GW to 129 GW of renewables by 2040, which would be enough to cover between 30% and 35% of total power demand.

Between 155 GW and 235 GW of solar and wind could be deployed on rooftops, as well as unused or low-quality agricultural land, the MOTIE said. Its new plan also aims to further reduce the share of coal power in the energy mix, while increasing the share of natural gas.

In March, the Korean government announced three different programs to prioritize high-efficiency renewables projects that use equipment with a low carbon footprint and adhere to stricter Korean industry standards.

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In December 2017, the MOTIE released a basic plan for electricity supply and demand that called for 58.5 GW of renewables by 2030, including up to 30 GW of solar. If deployed, the 58.5 GW would be enough to generate 20% of the country's power. Under this plan, the share of natural gas was expected to be 18.8%, while the share of coal and nuclear power in the mix would be 36.1% and 23.9%, respectively.

At the end of 2018, the country’s cumulative installed PV capacity stood at around 7.86 GW, according to statistics from the International Renewable Energy Agency. More than 2 GW were installed last year alone.

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