South Korean energy firms are pushing to increase their investment in renewable energy to overhaul the country's energy mix, which is currently dominated by nuclear and coal power, an opposition party lawmaker said Monday.
The Korea Electric Corp. is considering pouring 54 trillion won (US$47 billion) into generating 13.5 gigawatts of electricity through renewable means by 2030, according to Lee Che-ik, of the conservative Liberty Korea Party.
South Korea is seeking to increase the ratio of renewable energy in power generation to 20 percent or 67.7 gigawatts by 2030.
Currently, renewable energy generates 17.2 gigawatts of its electricity, the lawmaker said, citing official reports.
Renewable energy refers to energy generated by natural processes such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat.
These processes replenish themselves continually and are totally clean.
South Korea has recently decommissioned its oldest nuclear power plant and put on hold the construction of two nuclear reactors in Ulsan, an industrial city located about 410 kilometers southeast of Seoul.
The move came in the wake of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's vow to boost the supply of power from clean and renewable energy sources while weaning the country off nuclear and coal-fired plants.
In June, Moon promised to scrap all existing plans for new nuclear power plants and to not extend the operation of any reactors nearing the end of their initial life cycles. South Korea has 24 nuclear reactors and they generate about 30 percent of the country's total power supply.
Moon has also pledged to shut down 10 aged coal-fired power plants by 2022 in a move aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, which scientists say are to blame for global warming.
The legislator said that Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power is also planning to generate 8.4 gigawatts of electricity through renewable sources by 2030, compared with the 777 megawatts of electricity generated from renewable energy at the moment.
Meanwhile, Korea Southern Power Co., a subsidiary of the Korea Electric Corp., is moving to build a biomass plant that can generate 100 megawatts of electricity on its land in Samcheok, 290 kilometers east of Seoul. (Yonhap)