The South Korean government will expand the share of natural gas and renewable energy while reducing that much use in coal and nuclear power as a part of President Moon Jae-in’s campaign promise to wean the country off nuclear reactors and fossil fuel, the energy ministry said on Thursday.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy presented its latest basic power supply plan for 2017-2031 to lawmakers on Thursday that focuses on phasing out the country’s high reliance on nuclear power and shifting to cleaner energy. The ministry’s electricity policy committee will come up with a final plan after collecting opinions from lawmakers and holding a public hearing later this month.
The plan proposing to bring down the number of nuclear generators to 18 or 20.4 gigawatt capacity from current 24 units of 22.5GW capacity by 2030 did not include Wolsong 1 reactor to make it official that the government will decommission the reactor before its legitimate life span ends in 2022.
The ministry said it will decide by the first half of next year whether to permanently unplug Wolsong 1, offline since May for refurbishing and upgrades. The reactor that went into service in 1982 had its 30-year original design life extended by another 10 years in 2012 by the country’s nuclear safety regulator. Nuclear reactors usually are in service for 60 years through refurbishments, but Seoul previously said it won’t extend life of existing reactors or build new ones apart from those under construction to phase out of nuclear reactors.
The coal-fired power plant in Samcheok, Gangwon Province, which is currently under construction, will continue to be built but under enhanced environmental standard while the coal-fired power station in Dangjin, South Chungcheong Province, will be converted to a liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fueled plant.
The latest plan will reduce the share of nuclear and coal power from 50.9 percent of the country’s total energy generators this year to 34.7 percent in 2030.
An unnamed government official said that it will increase the share of renewables instead to up to 20 percent by the same year.
In its latest long-term outline, the government estimated maximum electricity demand to reach 100.5GW, significantly reduced from 113.2GW estimated two years ago.
The government revisits long-term energy supply-demand outline every two years.
By Ko Jae-man and Lee Eun-joo
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]