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S. Korea's power generation drops 1.5% in 2019


South Korea's electricity generation fell for the first time in more than two decades in 2019 amid an economic slowdown and favorable weather conditions, data showed Tuesday.

The amount of electricity generated by the nation's power plants came to 562,239 gigawatt hours last year, down 1.5 percent from the prior year, according to the data from state-run Korea Electric Power Corporation.

It was the first on-year drop since the 4.1 percent decrease in 1998, when South Korea was in the heat of a foreign exchange crisis.

South Korea's power generation had been growing at an annual average rate of 5 percent since then.

Electricity generated by nuclear power plants gained 9.3 percent on-year last year, and power generated from renewable energy sources edged up 0.2 percent.

But electricity generated by coal-powered plants dipped 4.8 percent due to government policies to reduce fine dust air pollution. Power generation from gas, oil and other sources also fell.

Last year's drop was attributed mainly to the local economy's slowdown and favorable weather conditions both in summer and winter.

South Korea's factory utilization rate was sluggish amid a weak economy, and households consumed less electricity for air conditioning and heating.

The country's electricity sales dropped 1.1 percent on-year to 521 megawatt hours (MWh) last year, marking the first on-year decline since 1999.

The data also showed South Korea's electricity generation capacity increased by 5.3 gigawatts (GW) in 2019 from a year earlier.

This year, Asia's fourth-largest economy is slated to get a new nuclear power plant with a capacity of 1.4 GW online and to add solar power and other renewable energy facilities. (Yonhap)