SEOUL, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Only one of South Korea’s planned coal power plants is likely to be converted to gas, the country’s energy minister said on Friday, despite government efforts to switch four out of nine coal plants to boost gas power generation.
South Korea is pursuing a shift towards gas and renewables due to growing calls for better air quality and nuclear safety.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy relies on coal and nuclear power to provide cheaper electricity and ensure a stable supply, but the government had been in talks with private and public utilities to convert four planned coal-fired power plants to gas, with a total installed capacity of 3.26 gigawatts
“Of the nine planned coal power plant, eight would be built as coal-fired power plants and we’re thinking to convert one to (gas-fired) power plant, but a decision would be made soon,” Paik Un-gyu, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, said.
He did not say which coal-fired plant would be converted.
South Korea’s next mid-and long-term power supply plan is set to be released this month.
The government planned to use natural gas as a bridge fuel, but increasing nuclear and fossil fuel capacity remains a hurdle to achieve South Korea’s goal of generating 20 percent of its total electricity with renewables by 2030. (Reporting by Jane Chung; editing by Alexander Smith)