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Ulleungdo Island to go carbon free

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Published : 2014-02-24 20:02
Updated : 2014-02-25 09:15

Korea will soon launch a project to make Ulleungdo Island, located some 120km east of the Korean Peninsula, a carbon-free island.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy unveiled the plan on Monday in its 2014 policy plan briefing to President Park Geun-hye.

“This will be the nation’s second pilot project for the creation of a green and clean island, following the ongoing Gapado project,” Sung Si-nae, an official with MOTIE, said.

Gapado, a small volcanic island near the southern coast of Jejudo Island, is in the midst of being transformed into world’s first carbon-free island in phases. The process started in 2012.

According to the Jeju Provincial Government, as of now, electricity generated by solar and wind power meets about 98 percent of the entire energy demands of the island, replacing the diesel-based power generation system.

The ministry has now announced its decision to embark on a second carbon-free island project on Ulleungdo because it felt the need to go to a bigger island to build a global reputation in carbon-free energy solutions, industry watchers said.

Ulleungdo, the eighth largest island in Korea, has a population of around 10,000 residents, while Gapado has a population of about 600.

Industry watchers expect that Ulleungdo can be a test bed for domestic energy storage systems, or ESS.

ESS is a critical element for building a renewable energy sources-driven community, and it is an area that the ministry will cultivate to become the nation’s next growth engine.

Backed by a favorable policy environment, local conglomerates including Samsung and LG have capitalized on the ESS market, riding on its high growth potential.

“As the first step of the Ulleungdo project, the ministry will soon take a field trip to the island to do research on the best mix of renewables to make one of the nation’s largest islands carbon free,” the MOTIE official said.

Besides the second green island project, the ministry will continue to improve the regulatory environment to boost the renewable energy market.

Under this policy direction, the ministry said it will force public organizations nationwide to raise power generation by renewable energy to 30 percent from the current 12 percent by 2020.

In addition, the ministry will strengthen incentives for small-scale solar panel providers in an effort to help solar power generation proliferate.

By Seo Jee-yeon (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)

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