Submitted by Climate Scorecard South Korea Country Manager Hatyja Nuriyeva
Korea’s energy market is in part characterized by total primary energy supply (TPES), 85% of which was fossil fuels in 2018. The country is heavily reliant on energy imports and 55% of its total final consumption is comprised of industrial energy usage. Among all IEA countries, Korea has the lowest share of clean energy in its energy supply in that same year (The International Renewable Energy Agency, 2018).
The Korean Government is committed to strengthen the country’s energy transformation by growing the share of renewable electricity to 20% by 2030 and to 30-35% by 2040. It proposes to steadily remove coal and nuclear power from the energy mix, while greatly enhancing renewable energy production and encouraging the country’s burgeoning hydrogen industry. Under the Paris Agreement, Korea is committed to limiting its emissions to 536 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2-eq) by 2030, with emissions of 709 Mt CO2-eq in 2018 (Government of the Republic of Korea, 2020).
Green New Deal
Reaching these strategic objectives would require Korea to significantly intensify decarbonization efforts across all energy sectors, overcome regulatory and structural hurdles, develop scalable market designs, and leverage the country’s advanced technology and creative capabilities. The Government’s declaration of a Green New Deal in July 2020 is a major step towards advancing Korea’s energy transformation.
A core feature of the Korean Green New Deal is a plan for industrial decarbonization. The suggested steps include the development of a large data platform, industrial integration of 5G networks and artificial intelligence, and the introduction of smart working and low-carbon industrial complexes.
Source: Korean new deal (2020)
In the future, energy safety can be tested against a wider range of metrics for the Korean Green New Deal. Korea has greatly increased wind and solar photovoltaics deployment since the previous in-depth analysis in 2012. But Korea started from a very small base and had just less than 4% of electricity produced from renewable resources in 2018. Increasing the number of contingent and decentralized renewable energy sources requires a resilient and more efficient infrastructure to reach the 2030 and 2040 goals—20% and 30% shares, respectively (Ministry of Trade, 2014).
The new administration of Moon Jae-In has made energy transformation the fundamental aim of national energy policy. The Energy Roadmap for 3020 recommends a 20% increase in renewables by 2030. This is an optimistic political objective focused on recent developments in South Korea’s energy production and use. The aim is to decrease the share of coal and nuclear resources by 22% and 21.6% by 2030. This ambitious energy transformation agenda is being promoted in many ways by the Government (Ministry of Trade, 2014).
One of the focus areas of the Green New Deal is the “Ecological Transition of Infrastructures”. This means building a green-friendly ecosystem for a world where humans and nature coexist. The investment is projected to generate 387,000 jobs. A second area of concern is a “Low Carbon and Decentralized Electricity Supply”. Through aggressive research and development, facilities will encourage clean and efficient energy usage around the world, creating 209,000 jobs (Government of the Republic of Korea, 2020).
Crossley, P. (2019). How do countries regulate to support renewable energy? In renewable energy law: an international assessment. In Renewable Energy Law. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316888490.005
Government of the Republic of Korea. (2020). The Korean new deal: National Strategy for a great transformation. Retrieved from http://korea.go.kr/eng/index.jsp
Ministry of Trade, I. and E. (2014). Korea energy master plan outlook and policies 2035. In Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/fvm939e.pdf
Yonhap News Agency. (2021). Moon attends ceremony on world’s largest sea wind power complex project.
The International Renewable Energy Agency. (2018). Global energy transformation: a roadmap to 2050. In Global Energy Transformation. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230244092