S.Korea says to meet summer demand for power, avoid blackouts

SEOUL, July 14 (Reuters) - South Korea on Thursday said its power supply would be sufficient to meet peak demand in what is expected to be a hotter-than-normal summer, buoyed by new electricity plants.

The energy ministry expects a sudden rise in power demand as people crank up their air conditioning, but said the country would avoid blackouts like those seen five years ago which cut electricity to businesses and homes.

Summer demand is forecast to peak at 81,700 megawatt (MW) around the second and third weeks of August, with a power supply surplus of 10,400 MW, the energy ministry said in a statement.

Four new energy facilities, including thermal power plants, will add around 2,500 MW to the nation’s electricity supply capacity, according to an energy ministry official and the statement.

Although the weather in July is expected to be similar to usual for the time of year, South Korea is expected to experience warmer-than-average temperatures and higher precipitation levels in August, the statement quoted the country’s meteorological service as saying.

Of the country’s 25 nuclear reactors, four are currently offline for maintenance. Nuclear accounts for around a third of the country’s power, with the rest mainly coming from fossil fuels.

Reporting by Jane Chung; Editing by Joseph Radford