Korea Needs Massive Renewable Growth to Reach New Climate Target
(Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s aggressive new climate target will require the country to significantly ramp up its renewable energy generation, particularly in the wind sector.
President Moon Jae-in pledged to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from 2018 levels by 2030 in his speech at the annual U.N. climate conference in Scotland. “It isn’t an easy task, but citizens of South Korea have decided now is the time to act,” he told the world leaders on Monday.
South Korea’s government had already signaled the pledge last month as the president’s cabinet finalized the goals. Still, the commitment is a dramatic step up from previous plans to reduce emission by 26.3%. A major requirement for reaching the new goal will be raising the share of annual generation of renewables to 30% by 2030 from 7% in 2020.
Boosting offshore wind deployment will be the key to achieving the new target, according to David Kang, an analyst from BloombergNEF. In order to accelerate development, Korea will need to streamline its current complex permitting process for offshore wind, and also loosen land regulations for solar and onshore wind, he said.
South Korea plans include harnessing 12 gigawatts from offshore wind by 2030, compared with less than 0.2 gigawatts now. The country has the world’s biggest tidal power plant at Sihwa Lake, and is investing 48.5 trillion won ($41.3 billion) on a wind farm to be built over the next decade off the southwest coast of the country.
See also: Hydrogen and CCS Are Key to Korea’s Net-Zero Roadmap: BNEF
The new goals seek to lower emissions to 436.6 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030 from 727.6 million in 2018, the energy ministry said in October. South Korea is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050.
The commitment comes as South Korea is increasingly pressured by other governments including the Biden administration to strengthen its climate goals. Moon also confirmed that South Korea will join the global commitment to slash methane emissions by pledging to shut all coal-fired power plants by 2050.
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