Basic energy plan, which is a far-sighted national policy, is an important issue that is directly connected to industrial competitive edge as it draws rough-sketch of medium and long-term energy policies. South Korean Government announced through its the third basic energy plan that it would drastically reduce use of nuclear energy and coals and increase percentage of renewable energy generation by four to five times. While some experts point out that such plan is a ‘nonrealistic plan’ that excludes problems such as accommodation of residents and geographical condition, South Korean Government responded by saying that such plan is a ‘challenging goal’ that considers global trends, industrial competitive edge, and reduction of greenhouse gases and fine dust.
◊South Korean Government plans to raise percentage of renewable energy generation up to 35%
At a public hearing for the the third basic energy plan where experts from various industries participated, there were many problems that were brought up against South Korean Government’s vision and goal for future energy policies. Many experts pointed out that South Korean Government’s goal of raising percentage of renewable energy generation from 7% up to 35% by 2040 lacks necessary plans to execute this goal and that South Korean Government did not apply inevitable factors appropriately.
Department Head Kim Nok-young of Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s BISD emphasized that there is a need to look into reality of South Korean Government’s goal of raising percentage of renewable energy generation up to 35%.
“Solar panels and wind power cause landslide and noise problems respectively and we need to consider how these problems can be solved from an aspect of accommodating relevant residents.” said Department Head Kim. “If prediction is not based on reality, there will be side-effects that follow.” He also added that basic energy plan is established after considering reduction of fine dust and greenhouse gases and that the third basic energy plan does not include causes of increase in electricity bill.
“South Korean Government must prepare solutions for developing necessary manpower if its goal is to raise percentage of renewable energy generation up to 35%.” said Professor Bae Jung-hwan of Chonnam National University’s Economics Department. “Reason why traditional sources of energies such as nuclear energy and coal are able to play central roles for many years is because there is sufficient manpower.” He also added that South Korea lacks infrastructures to develop manpower for renewable energy industry and that South Korean Government needs to prepare a testbed where young entrepreneurs can test their renewable energy business models.
“The third basic energy plan does not include a roadmap on how it is going to solve accommodation issue for residents.” said Professor Park Ho-jung of Korea University’s Green School. “Although smooth generation will be possible centered on excellent geographical conditions initially, there will be limits to geographical conditions as time goes on.”
“We cannot say that it will be 100% possible to raise energy generation up to 35% by 2040.” said Senior Researcher Lim Jae-kyu of Korea Energy Economics Institute who is in charge of research service of the third basic energy plan. “Because basic energy plan includes long-term direction and vision of national energy policies, it was necessary for South Korean Government to present challenging goals after considering international trends and eco-friendly energy systems.”
“We are currently discussing with local governments about expanding models based on participation from residents and relevant bills are already motioned within The National Assembly.” said Deputy Director General Lee Yong-hwan of Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy’s Energy Innovation Policy while emphasizing that South Korean Government will overcome resident accommodation issue.

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◊Need for support for market-friendly systems
Many experts agree that there needs to be support for ‘eco-friendly systems’ by South Korean Government to successfully carry out the third basic energy plan.
“When South Korean Government prepares detailed plans for the third basic energy plan, it needs to go through eco-friendly direction rather than looking to give orders.” said Professor Park. “It also needs to look for ways to maximize political effects based on incentive system.”
Some experts also stated that there needs to be an index that allows South Korean people to predict positive effects to induce changes in structure of power consumption. Under a goal of paradigm change centered on innovative consumption structure, South Korean Government included establishment of national DR (Demand Response) market, expansion of strategic prosumer, and verification of V2G (Vehicle to Grid) technology to the third basic energy plan.
National DR is a program that returns benefits corresponding to amount of energy saved during a peak hour back to consumers. For example, an air conditioner user receives home appliance points corresponding to amount of energy saved during a peak hour. Energy prosumer indicates electricity transactions between individuals rather than receiving electricity solely from Korea Electric Power Corporation. V2G is a technology that sends remaining electricity from an electric vehicle to power network to increase efficiency in electricity consumption.
“We did not see any simulation result of expected efforts by consumers participating in energy policies within the third basic energy plan.” said Department Head Lee Seo-hye of E Consumer’s Research Department. “South Korean Government’s energy plan must be based on a process that provides accurate information to consumers and leads them to appropriate selections.”
“Although South Korean Government introduced Green Pricing in the past, it had faced many trials and errors due to lack of participation.” said Professor Bae. “It needs to have additional discussions about ways to induce participation from the people by connecting households and industries.”
Professor Bae also added that South Korean Government should refer to the fact that IEA (International Energy Agency) divides its energy plan into standard plan, passive plan, and active plan when it predicts its energy plan for the future while saying that the third basic energy plan is very limited in predicting the future.
“From an aspect of managing demands, it seems that the third basic energy plan lacks policies for preparation of abnormal temperature.” said Department Head Kim. “South Korean Government cannot just request saving of energy from the people even when temperature is rising or dropping very suddenly.”
There were opinions about a need for additional measures for ‘energy welfare’ and ‘opening of electricity market’.
“South Korean Government cannot just focus on solving air conditioner crisis, but it also needs to prepare solutions for 4 million households without access to gas.” said Seok Kwang-hoon who is a member of Green Korea United. “Japanese Government carried out open market policy to secure stability in supply of electricity and gas after nuclear disaster in Fukushima and it has created a boost in competitions as it has led to participation from many private businesses.”
“We have solved lack of gas supply to some degree.” said Deputy Director General Lee. “However, there can be financial burden from facilities and equipment when we supply gas to areas that noticeably lack economic feasibility.”
South Korean Government reiterated its firm stance on breaking away from using nuclear energy.
“After nuclear disaster in Fukushima, level of insensitivity in safety by the people has risen and there is also an issue with nuclear fuel after using nuclear energy.” said Deputy Director General Lee. “We are not going to build any new nuclear plant and we are going to gradually reduce number of nuclear plants over the next 60 years by not allowing life extension to current nuclear plants.”
Staff Reporter Choi, Jaepil |