South Korea—No 100% 2050 commitment
Benchmark: 11% renewable energy by 2035
South Korea did not make an explicit commitment for 2050. The longest plan for the country’s energy portfolio targets 2030-2035. South Korea established and announced the “Fourth Plan for New and Renewable Energy” in September 2014. It outlined detailed measures for the implementation of new and renewable energy. This plan suggests that South Korea focus on creating a new environment for new and renewable energy markets and transform its energy market from the current ‘government-led’ type to a new one led by ‘public-private partnerships.’
The South Korean government (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy) publishes a New and Renewable Energy White Paper biennially. The latest version was published in October 2016 before the Moon Jae-in administration was inaugurated. According to this white paper, South Korea aims to increase the share of new and renewable energy from the current 3.6% (in 2014) to 9.7% by 2030, to 11% by 2035. The following table shows how South Korea will reach the goal with solar power and wind power that are likely to increase substantially according to the government’s plan. Solar power, geothermal, and waste heat are supposed to supply heat and electricity for houses and buildings.
(Source. METI, 2016 New and Renewable Energy White Paper)
During the 2017 presidential campaign, Moon Jae-in, as the frontrunner candidate, suggested pretty radical changes in the country’s energy policy. He proposed two phase-out plans, nuclear phase-out and coal phase-out. After his inauguration, South Korea shut down eight aged coal-powered plants and also committed to permanently shutting down Kori 1, the country’s oldest nuclear power plant. Therefore, it is likely that South Korea will expand its natural gas consumption in order to make up for the shortage of energy supply caused by these two plans. It will also increase the share of new and renewable energy even more aggressively beyond the current plan. President Moon appointed Paik Un-gyu as his first minister of trade industry and energy. Minister Paik was a professor of engineering at Hanyang University and an expert of renewable energy, and designed Moon’s election pledges for energy policies.