South Korea to boost LNG imports in push for clean power

Image courtesy of Kogas

South Korea, the world’s second largest buyer of LNG, is expected to boost imports of the chilled fuel for power generation as part of a plan to reduce reliance on coal and nuclear plants.

The country aims to lift its power production capacity by up to a tenth by 2030, mostly using LNG and renewable energy.

A draft policy paper unveiled by Korea’s energy ministry on Wednesday showed it hopes to meet rising demand in the country by adding 5-10 gigawatts (GW) to its installed capacity base – about 4.7-9.5 percent of current capacity – mostly from LNG and renewables, Reuters informs.

But the numbers highlight the challenge Seoul faces in meeting new President Moon Jae-in’s campaign promises. Moon wants to generate 20 percent of Korea’s power from renewables by 2030, up from 5 percent now.

The draft, which provided few numeric details, is the first step in the ministry’s plans to flesh out a new energy policy by the end of October and finalise it by the end of the year, the news agency reported.

South Korea now produces nearly 40 percent of its electricity from coal, followed by nuclear at around 30 percent. The rest comes from LNG, with around 20 percent, oil and others 5 percent, and renewables the final 5 percent.

The ministry plans to close seven old coal-fired power plants by 2022, while banning the building new coal-fired and nuclear power plants, the report said.