Government to increase renewable energy to 35 percent by 2040
Government to increase renewable energy to 35 percent by 2040
  • Jung Se-jin
  • 승인 2019.04.22 11:52
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President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech at a ceremony to declare the permanent suspension of the Gori-1 reactor at the Gori Nuclear Power Plant.

As the government has decided to increase the proportion of renewable energy to up to 35 percent by 2040, considerable controversy is expected in and out of the political circle. 

On April 19, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced a government proposal for the third basic energy plan that includes such content.

The government's plan focuses on expanding the share of renewable energy generation, including solar and wind power, from the current 8 percent level to 30 to 35 percent. 

With calls for "speed control" of the energy conversion policy, there are concerns that the government may be pushing for a drastic departure from nuclear power plants and eco-friendly development.

The target of 30 to 35 percent is a response recommended by a task force of experts on renewable energy generation in February that "more than 30 percent of the generation cost is needed and 35 percent is the limit."

However, considering that the government's target for the proportion of renewable energy set by 2030 is 20 percent, many say it is too much to nearly double the target by 2040.

The Ministry of Industry and Energy also announced a plan to drastically cut coal power generation, and specific targets and means for the reduction will be presented in the ninth basic plan for electricity supply to be unveiled later this year. 

The ministry also mentioned the goal of expanding the role of energy sources for the generation of natural gas.

According to the government's estimate of energy demand by 2040, the base demand is expected to increase 0.6 percent annually for total energy and 0.8 percent for final energy, while the final consumption unit is expected to fall 1.2 percent annually.

It has also been announced that it will shift its energy policy paradigm from supply-oriented to innovation in consumption structure.

The plan is to strengthen demand management by sectors such as industry, building and transportation, and push for voluntary agreements to manage energy source unit targets, while expanding high-efficiency equipment and products supply and energy management systems.

As a way to establish a reasonable price system, electricity plans to diversify consumer options by introducing various rate plans such as applying housing rate depending on the season and time and managing accoring to demand.

Experts, however, believe that a sharp increase in expensive renewable energy will cause major problems due to higher electricity prices.

"In the end, we are passing on the burden of higher electricity prices and the cost of creating infrastructure to the public," an energy expert said.

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