South Korean government begins nationwide inspection on solar parks


South Korea's Office for Government Policy Coordination (OGPC), a government agency consisting of the prime minister's office with the prime minister's secretariat, has revealed this week that funds amounting to KRW 261 billion ($187 million) were illegally allocated for several renewable energy projects under the administration of the previous Korean prime minister, Moon Jae-in.

According to an official statement released by the agency, 2,267 cases of illegal fund management were identified across 12 local governments over the entire 5-year period of the previous government. The cases relate mostly to illegal loan execution, unlawful subsidy allocation, and bid rigging. “All illegal cases discovered will be further investigated and illegally allocated subsidies will be refunded,” the OGPC said, noting that the investigation is only a sample investigation limited to a specific region, and that it will be soon extended to the rest of the country.

Some of the cases also relate to the deployment of solar parks on agricultural land hosting mushroom or insect breeding facilities, which can be built without converting farmland to other uses. “Although these projects were presented as including a mushroom cultivation facility or insect breeding facility, in reality, there were no traces of properly growing mushrooms or insects there,” the agency said.

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The OGPC said the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) will participate in the nationwide investigation.

South Korea is currently supporting large-scale solar and renewables through a tendering scheme. These tenders were launched in 2018 and through them the authorities have allocated so far around 8.85 GW of solar power.

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