S. Korea presents overly expensive and unreliable carbon neutrality action plan

Baek Sang-kyung, Song Min-geun, and Lee Eun-joo 입력 2021. 10. 19. 11:24
글자크기 설정 파란원을 좌우로 움직이시면 글자크기가 변경 됩니다.

이 글자크기로 변경됩니다.

(예시) 가장 빠른 뉴스가 있고 다양한 정보, 쌍방향 소통이 숨쉬는 다음뉴스를 만나보세요. 다음뉴스는 국내외 주요이슈와 실시간 속보, 문화생활 및 다양한 분야의 뉴스를 입체적으로 전달하고 있습니다.

[Photo by Lee Chung-woo]
South Korea has confirmed its roadmap to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, but without regard to energy security as the plan includes complete exit from thermal generation and yank-up of renewable sourcing to maximum 70 percent through undeveloped technology.

Under the finalized plan to meet net-zero emissions by 2050, the presidential committee on carbon neutrality on Monday proposed complete withdrawal from thermal power generation while sustaining liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling.

The earlier outline in August partial reliance on coal power.

The committee proposed suspension of coal-fired power generation to minimize emission, a move requiring legal revision and financial damage program.

Under the finalized roadmap, the government raised renewable energy sourcing to between 60.9 percent and 70.8 percent of total power generation. It also set aside 13.8 percent to 21.5 percent power from carbon-free gas turbines based on technology that has yet to be commercialized.

Nearly 3 percent power was proposed to be sourced from Northeast Asia power grid that imports electricity from China.

The plan fails to take account of the insecurity of renewable sourcing, experts pointed out.

Yoo Seung-hoon, energy policy professor at Seoul National University of Science and Technology, noted that many countries in Europe including the United Kingdom experienced blackouts this summer because their wind power generations did not operate properly.

He said that the scenarios the presidential committee are proposing are ¡°too radical,¡± pointing out that Sweden whose renewable energy accounts for 70 percent of total power generation has turned back to thermal power operations.

Local geographic conditions are even harder compared to Europe which benefits from wind from the North Sea flowing in one direction all-year round.

Wind in Korea, however, flows in different directions depending on the season, which lowers wind power efficiency.

Cross-border power sharing is also possible for European Union members.

Due to geopolitical reasons, the idea of South Korea importing power from China and Russia through North East power grid joint venture is too far-fetched, experts agree.

The cost from rapid transition could be heavy on the country as well.

The presidential committee proposed to reflect carbon costs on electricity bills to accelerate shift to carbon neutrality and on the generating cost. The committee, however, has not unveiled the estimates of the cost.

Korea has been depending highly on coal and LNG power this summer amid growing electricity demand on economic recovery and unusually long heat wave.

According to data from Korea Electric Power Corporation, power generation increased to 54,143 in July and 51,795 GW in August from 45,788 GW in June, and coal. The increase came from thermal and nuclear power generators.

Coal power generation surged 28.2 percent on month in July to 21,387 GW. LNG and nuclear power also soared to 15,644 GW and 12,303 GW, respectively.

The trend continued in August.

Renewable energy sourcing stayed unchanged at 3,708 GW in June, 3,821 GW in July, and 3,638 GW in August.

[¨Ï Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]

ⓒ 매일경제 & mk.co.kr, 무단전재 및 재배포 금지

이 기사에 대해 어떻게 생각하시나요?