South Korea Plans to Disadvantage Fossil Fuels in its High-Emitting Power Market (1)

By Mathew Carr

Nov. 26, 2020 — LONDON: South Korea will adjust the rules of its electricity market to discourage the use of fossil-fuel generation, an official from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said at an online event hosted by the International Energy Agency.

South Korea has scope to boost its share of renewables to about 20% by 2030, from about 4% now, IEA said. The current level is below the global average for IEA members.

Nations in Asia, the most populous of the world’s regions, are seeking to reduce emissions in a bid to limit damage from global warming caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gas.

Industrial powerhouse South Korea is a big importer of liquefied natural gas.

In LNG, “there’s a lot of surplus production,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, at the online event. That may allow a switch away from coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, he said.

The IEA has been criticised by environmental groups for underestimating the reduction in clean-energy costs, which has unnecessarily supported fossil fuels and worsened the climate crisis. Now the IEA is encouraging the climate transition and will collaborate with South Korea to decarbonise its power system.

South Korea will boost energy efficiency and set medium and long-term goals to use hydrogen fuel, said Joo Young-joon, South Korea’s deputy minister for energy and resources policy. Hydrogen can dramatically cut emissions compared with coal, oil and natural gas, especially when it’s made using spare renewable power.

IEA video here:

Screenshot of the event

(Updated Thursday morning to add additional comments from the IEA event)

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