Gov't to phase out coal power plants

2017-08-29 : 18:11

Clean energy capacity will rise to 20% of power generation by 2030

By Park Hyong-ki

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will reduce more than half of the hazardous gas emitted by aging coal power plants by suspending their operations.

In a briefing report to President Moon Jae-in, Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Paik Un-gyu said that it will seek to expand the development and use of clean energy technologies, replacing aging coal and nuclear power plants.

The ministry will no longer give licenses to either build or operate coal plants. Any coal plants currently under development will be rebuilt to become LNG power plants.

Instead, it will increase the capacity of clean energy to up to 20 percent of the country’s overall power generation by 2030.

This includes expanding clean energy for the agriculture sector.

Such an approach is in line with the Moon administration’s efforts of reducing the country’s dependence on nuclear power. Moon has vowed to make Korea a nuclear-free society.

The government will soon decide whether or not to continue its work on two nuclear reactors, which will lead to a great conflict between proponents of nuclear power and its opponents.

President Moon called on the trade, industry and energy ministry to coordinate and collaborate with other agencies such as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Environment in providing the safest service.

“It is important that the ministries communicate and collaborate as much as they can, even though their respective policy positions may differ. Energy, in particular, needs a mix of industry and environment policies,” the President said.

“People’s safety has been considered last when implementing energy policies. We must reduce coal and nuclear power generation aligned with the global trend to build a safer and cleaner country.”

The trade ministry reported to the President that its negotiating team will aggressively seek for fair evaluation and analysis of a bilateral free trade agreement with the United States.

Also, it will actively promote to U.S. lawmakers that the free trade deal has benefited both sides.

Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kim Hyun-mee said that it will prioritize stabilizing the country’s apartment prices in an effort to help improve the livelihoods of middle and low-income earners.

As part of the administration’s pledge for the restoration and renovation of aging urban areas for the middle and working classes, the infrastructure ministry will seek to realize this by using technology that can help improve their welfare.

President Moon again requested the infrastructure ministry work with other agencies.

“This project needs support from all related agencies including the science ministry and a committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” the President said.