Korea Envisages Low-Carbon,
Green Growth

Gov't finalizes the first national energy master plan

The government has announced a comprehensive long-term plan to reduce the nation's dependence on fossil fuels and expand the portion of low-carbon and clean energy sources.
The National Energy Committee (NEC) held its third session, presided over by President Lee Myung-bak at Cheong Wa Dae on Aug. 27, and finalized the first national energy master plan for the period between 2008 and 2030. The national energy master plan, established for the first time since Korea's founding, is designed to present principles and directions of energy policy plans, including the ones on new and renewable energy sources, exploration of overseas resources and the rationalization of energy use, every 20 years.
President Lee Myung-bak told the meeting, "A paradigm shift in energy policies constitutes the core of green growth, and making the energy industry -- a foundation of other industries -- greener will bring about sustainable growth."
The national energy master plan presents the vision for long-term energy policies in order
to back the "low-carbon, green growth"initiative in the energy sector and strategically cope with the post-fossil fuel era. Unlike the past policy of ensuring a stable supply of energy sources, it sets out energy demand predictions and targets of reducing energy consumption. The plan calls for a mix of energy supplies for an optimum long-term period, taking into account the environment, efficiency and security.
The plan envisions long-term energy policies: a society for realizing solid growth amid less energy consumption; a society for minimizing environmental pollution caused by the use of energy sources; a society with a green energy industry creating jobs and growth engines; and the realization of unswerving energy self-sufficiency and a welfare society.
It calls for the implementation of four action plans to realize the long-term vision. First of all, the tons of oil equivalent (TOE) will be raised to 0.185 percent in 2030, a 45 percent improvement from the current 0.341 percent. The TOE is the amount of energy consumed for the production of $1,000 worth of the Gross Domestic Product.
The proportion of fossil fuels including petroleum will be curtailed from the current 83 percent to 61 percent in 2030, while that of new and renewable energy sources will jump to 11 percent, a 4.6 fold increase from the current 2.4 percent, to cut down on Korea's dependence on fossil fuels.
The spread of new and renewable energy sources use has suffered setbacks due to limited territory, deficiency of technology and lower economic benefits. The domestic new- and renewable-energy sector will be expanded to supply levels of advanced countries through government support for technology development and proliferation. It plans to increase the supply of solar energy 44 times the current level, wind power 37 times, biofuels 19 times and geothermal power 51 times.
Korea will introduce the renewable portfolio standard mechanism under which power companies are required to produce a given portion of such renewable energy sources as wind power, tidal power and biofuel, considered to be favorable in consideration of domestic territorial conditions. Newly built public buildings will be obliged to use new and renewable energy sources, while 1 million green homes will be built.
The government will expand nuclear power with the goal of raising the portion of its facilities to 41 percent of all power facilities from the current 26 percent. The portion of nuclear power will rise from 36 percent in 2007 to 59 percent of the total power supply in 2030.
Energy technologies, including green technology, will be upgraded from the current 60 percent to the world's top-class standards in 2030 to foster the energy industry as a growth engine.
Korea's own petroleum and gas development rate will soar from the current 4.2 percent to 40 percent in 2030, while the plan calls for solving energy deficiencies for the lower income bracket. Currently, about 1.2 million households or 7.8 percent of the nation's population, spend more than 10 percent of their income paying light and heating charges.
The nation's total energy demand will rise to 342.8 million TOE in 2030 with an annual average increase rate of 1.6 percent, according to the national energy master plan, based on the super-crude price hike scenarios released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The plan aims at preserving an additional 42 million TOEs annually with the goal of pegging total energy demand to 300.4 million TOE with an average increase rate of 1.1 percent. Korea's energy consumption increased an average of 6.7 percent during the period between 1981 and 2006 and an average of 4.4 percent during the period between 1998 and 2006.
It means that thorough demand management and energy use efficiency will lead to preserving the equivalent of the energy consumption in the transportation sector, tallied at 36 million TOE in 2007. nw

President Lee Myung-bak presides over the third session of the National Energy Committee Meeting. which finalized the first national energy master plan.

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