South Korea to up alternative energy spending

SEOUL Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:33pm EDT

File photo shows a view of a solar house village in Kwangju, about 320 km (200 miles) south of Seoul, February 1, 2007. REUTERS/An Hyun-ju

File photo shows a view of a solar house village in Kwangju, about 320 km (200 miles) south of Seoul, February 1, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/An Hyun-ju

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SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea plans to raise its investment in alternative energy development by 60 percent this year to $193 million, the government said on Monday, as the resource-hungry nation seeks to diversify its energy sources.

It plans to spend 194.4 billion won ($193 million) on alternative energy technologies, including solar and wind power as well as biofuels, the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy said in a statement.

"The decision is to increase the domestic supply of renewable energies because they have strong growth potential," it said in a statement.

As global energy prices have soared this year, South Korea, the world's 10th largest energy consumer and the No.5 crude oil importer, spent over 60 percent more than last year to import crude oil, coal and natural gas in the first half.

It wants to lift its energy self-sufficiency rate five-fold to around 20 percent from the current 4.2 percent.

($1=1007.2 Won)

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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