South Korea likely to miss its 2030 renewable energy target: WoodMac

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea is likely to miss its 2030 renewable energy target even though the country’s renewables capacity is expected to triple from 2019, consultants Wood Mackenzie said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: A wind turbine is seen over the panels of a solar power plant of Korea South East Power Co. (KOSEP) in Incheon, in this file photo taken September 30, 2010. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak/File Photo

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, relies on coal and nuclear power to produce about 70 percent of the country’s electricity.

In 2017, the country’s energy ministry released its power plan through 2030 amid growing calls to improve the country’s air quality and fears over atomic power. The plan calls to increase the amount of renewable power in the country’s energy mix to 20 percent by 2030 from 6 percent, reducing its dependence on coal and nuclear.

However, Wood Mackenzie analysts said in an outlook on South Korea’s energy policy that the country will only achieve a 17 percent mix by 2030.

Zi Sheng Neoh, a managing consultant at Wood Mackenzie, told a press conference where the company released the report that the country would come close to the target but that was likely to high of a bar to clear.

“South Korea will be achieving 17 percent, instead of hitting the 20 percent target but it is indeed very close,” he said. “South Korea’s renewables target is ambitious.”

Neoh said solar and wind are expected to make up 11 percent of country’s total energy mix by 2030, while coal and nuclear are likely to make up 40 percent and 25 percent of the country’s total power mix, slightly higher than their official targets of 36 percent and 24 percent.

Still, Wood Mackenzie expected the country’s renewables capacity to triple from 2019 to 60.5 gigawatts by 2030 with solar and wind installed capacity making up the majority of the this growth.

To meet the country’s renewables target, the consultancy said businesses should be given open access to purchase electricity directly from renewable generators to reduce costs.

A South Korean advisory group said last year the government should plan to increase the nation’s share of renewable power generation in its generating mix to as much as 40 percent by 2040 to keep abreast with global trends and lower its fuel import dependency.

The country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is set to present its long-term energy plan in April, according to a statement last week.

Reporting By Jane Chung; editing by Christian Schmollinger