The South Korean government will use an abandoned coal mine site in Gangwon Province to turn it into a solar power farm that can be reinvested to vitalize the local economy.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Wednesday unveiled a project that uses dead mines to build solar power farms in a bid to give new life to the rust-belt economy and industries while backing its policy of promoting renewable energy and wean the country off nuclear reactor and fossil fuel.
The first pilot location for the project will be a dead mine in Hambaek, Gangwon Province. The ministry will use a coal yard stacked with residual stones after picking out coal in the process of mining before the mine was abandoned in 1993 by Korea Coal Corporation. The government-owned corporation will grant usage of the site for free of charge for 20 years and Korea District Heating Corporation will invest in a development project that involves generating 1 megawatt solar power and building a 3 megawatt energy storage system. The 3.3 billion won ($3.1 million) project that has been approved by the government will break ground in April, next year.
Korea District Heating Corporation will give away earnings after taking out investment principle to Mine Reclamation Corp. which will then invest the funds to boost regional economy.
An unnamed official from the energy ministry said that it will search for other abandoned mine areas to expand the project and also seek to ease regulation to be engaged in the project even if the site involves a national forest owned by Korea Forest Service.
By Ko Jae-man and Lee Eun-joo
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