South Korea to Invest $35 Billion in Renewable Energy by 2015


The South Korean government has announced that it intends to invest $35.4 billion in the renewable energy sector over the next five years as it aims at reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and build a green economy for the future.

The announcement was made by a presidential task force which is responsible for the drafting the country’s green energy policy. According to the announced plans, the green energy thrust to the economy would be provided through a combination of public and private initiatives.

The South Korean government announced the ‘Green Korea‘ plan in September 2008 which identified nine key areas for green investment: solar and wind power, light-emitting diodes (LED), hydrogen fuel cells, gas-to-liquid energy, integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and energy storage.

Solar Energy

The South Korean government plans to increase the solar power generation capacity to 400 MW by 2012. In addition to large-scale power plants the government is also looking to investment in home-based solar power systems. According to the ministry of Knowledge Economy, a total of 100,000 homes will have solar power systems installed by 2012 these will include all government-planned buildings and 60 percent of privately-owned homes will have solar power systems.

South Korea already has one of the largest solar PV power plants in the world — the SinAn power plant, capable of generating 33,000 units of electricity annually.

And seeing a local market opportunity, South Korean manufacturing giants like Hyundai, Samsung and LG have also invested heavily in solar.

Wind Energy

The country aims at increasing the installed wind energy capacity to 1000 MW by 2012. There are plans for creating local manufacturing hubs which would supply wind turbine components to the local as well as foreign markets. The aim is to grab 10 percent share of the world’s wind energy technology supply chain by 2020.

The local companies like Hanjin Corporation are installing there own medium-sized wind turbines in the existing wind farms and are also looking to develop wind turbines of more than 5 MW generation capacity.

Green Transport

The new automobile policy has been designed keeping in mind Korea’s strong automobile sector. The government has outlined a policy which targets development of next-generation engines which are fuel flexible, that is, can be operated with several combinations of fuels. Several automakers in Korea are preparing to launch fuel cell-based cars in the near future and many, including Hyundai Motors, have launched hybrid cars which runs on cleaner fuels like natural gas.

The government will invest $5.6 billion in the automobile sector by 2013 as it aims at becoming one of the four largest green cars manufacturing nations.

Green Jobs

The government believes that the green industry can generate more jobs than conventional industries. If these projects are executed as per plans the government expects to generate more than 100,000 jobs by 2012 which can increase to 950,000 by 2030.

Article by Mridul Chadha, appearing courtesy ecopolitology.

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