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S. Korea's green growth scheme on track: IEA report

According to Yonhap News,

By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, Nov. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is on the path toward fostering low-carbon and eco-friendly energy industries on the back of its green-growth scheme, according to a country report by an international organization Thursday.

"A key aspect of Korea's Green New Deal is the decarbonization of the industry sector and the decoupling of the sector's energy consumption from its economic activity, all the while maintaining the country's strong industrial export base," the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its report.

"The Korean government is committed to leverage the benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution not only for economic development, but also to support the energy transition by harnessing the opportunities offered by digitalization to foster the energy transition," it added.

The Moon Jae-in administration has been making efforts to utilize more eco-friendly resources and foster the hydrogen industry.

Major goals include having sustainable resources take up 30 to 35 percent of the country's energy portfolio by 2040, while reducing the use of traditional methods such as coal and nuclear power. This will mark a drastic rise from 2019, when the figure was below 7 percent.

The country will increase the number of accumulated sales of electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell automobiles to 1.13 million and 200,000, respectively, by 2025.

The report praised South Korea for becoming the first nation in North East Asia to adopt the emissions trading system (ETS), in which companies can buy extra emissions rights when they surpass their own quota.

In terms of energy security, the IEA said South Korea was successful in diversifying oil and gas suppliers, even though the country has no domestic production.

The agency, meanwhile, advised South Korea to find a balance between "mandatory and voluntary policy" to promote the green energy drive in local industries.

"The Korean government should develop performance-driven regulatory frameworks for energy efficiency and renewable energy development, but also for competitive electricity and gas markets, in order to attract and facilitate investment in clean energy with new business opportunities," it added.

The IEA also advised South Korea to "ensure efficient infrastructure roll-out" to back up the green energy policy.

It marked the third time for the 30-member organization to issue a report on South Korea. The previous reports were issued in 2006 and 2012.

In 2012, the IEA said South Korea's ongoing efforts to develop nuclear plants was a "practical and efficient" way to meet its energy needs, considering it does not have too many other options. South Korea then had a nuclear friendly energy policy.

Instead of immediately shutting down existing plants, the Moon administration opted to take a more gradual phase-out approach by not approving the construction of new reactors, while avoiding extending the lifespan of existing ones.

While South Korea is expected to have 28 nuclear reactors by 2022, considering those already under construction, the number will gradually drop to 14 by 2038.

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Source: Yonhap News (Nov 26, 2020)

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