Korea Struggling to Increase Use
of New and Renewable Energy
Plans to increase the level to 5 percent by 2011
Many countries around the world are expected to accelerate their efforts to develop new and renewable energy sources in the wake of crude oil prices hikes and the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
Korea, feeling the heat from global greenhouse gas reduction demands following the pact on climate change, is stepping on the gas in its bid to raise the portion of new and renewable energy sources from 2 percent in 2003 to 5 percent in 2010.
Work on new and renewable energy sources as solar, wind, waves, geothermal, and biomass energy is under way worldwide. New and renewable energy sources are referring to pollution-free clean energy unlike such fossil fuels as coal, petroleum and natural gas that discharge carbon dioxide, a primary source of global warming.
Park Sun-chul, researcher in charge of biomass at Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) said Korea began to show a keen interest in the development of technologies designed to raise energy efficiency as well as alternative energy sources like solar energy in the 1970s when crude oil price hikes hit the nation twice. In particular, during the 90s, new and renewable energy sources have drawn more attention from countries, including Korea, in step with a rising concern over climate change and environmental issues. At the dawn of the 21st century, a continuing hike of crude oil prices, surpassing $65 per barrel has prompted many countries to step up their efforts to develop new and renewable energy sources.
Korea? bid to develop solar energy, solar battery, wind power and biomass energy has paid off. Korea? aggregate energy consumption has risen about an average of 10 percent per annum during the past decade, whereas new and renewable energy supply has soared some an average of 25 percent yearly. However, Korea's new and renewable energy industry is in an infant stage with the ratio of new and renewable energy out of its aggregate primary energy consumption standing at 2.3 percent in 2004, quite lower compared to 5 percent to 10 percent for advanced countries.
The nation has placed more energy into expanding outlay into the development of new and renewable energy technologies, strengthening technological prowess and promoting the supply of developed technologies. These efforts do not immediately bring about enormous benefits to tide over the current oil price hikes, but Korea will have to make strenuous efforts with patience until it establishes a solid foundation for ensuring energy-sufficiency. Korea needs to diversify new and renewable energy and ensure a balanced development of each field to realize a goal of overcoming crude oil price hikes and securing energy self-sufficiency. nw