Rise of the renewables in South Korea

South Korea’s total installed renewables capacity will spike to 58.5GW by 2030 under a new energy plan that prioritises solar and wind development over nuclear power.

PV Magazine reports renewables and natural gas will account for a significantly larger part of the national energy mix over the next 12 years, with the South Korean government aiming for as much as 30GW of solar capacity, according to a recent draft of the country’s eighth basic plan for electricity supply and demand.

By the end of 2016, South Korea’s total installed PV capacity stood at roughly 5GW, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

“Korea will produce more power from renewable energy sources and natural gas, while gradually reducing its reliance on coal and nuclear power,” the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) said.

South Korea plans to generate 20 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2030, with natural gas likely to account for 18.8 per cent of total generation. Coal-fired plants will generate 36.1 per cent of the nation’s electricity within the next 12 years, while nuclear facilities will produce 23.9 per cent.

Renewables will represent 33.7 per cent of the country’s total installed energy capacity by the end of this period, from just 9.7 per cent in 2017. Nuclear and coal-fired generation will fall from about 50.9 per cent of the current energy mix, to approximately a third of the national total by 2030.

The MOTIE estimates South Korea’s peak electricity demand will reach 100.5GW by 2030, approximately 11 per cent below the 113.2GW forecast in its seventh energy plan. It aims to further reduce peak demand by 14.2 GW by focusing on renewables and energy efficiency, and has set a target electricity reserve margin of 22 per cent for 2030.

The new energy plan will be confirmed following a review by the country’s electricity policy commission.