Carbon-neutral Korea – Rethinking Energy

Carbon-neutral Korea – Rethinking Energy

Carbon-neutral Korea – Rethinking Energy

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Transitioning from 3,000 barrels per day and 15-MMst of annual coal imports, South Korea is investing heavily in renewable energies with the aim of carbon-neutral Korea by 2050. This is a major change in energy policy, reflecting the fact that Korea is the 4th largest global coal importer, after China, India, and Japan.  

If your company in the solar, wind, or energy efficiency business you need to start looking at Korea.  


What does this means in raw numbers?   

The South-Korean government has issued its strategy for carbon-neutral Korea by 2050, which means almost all electricity needs to be from renewable sources. To achieve this, the government will roll out renewable energy generation facilities with a combined capacity of 77.8 gigawatts by 2034, almost quadruple the current 20.1 gigawatts. Wind and Solar will total 42.7 gigawatts. 

Though the government’s midterm goal was to increase Korea’s capacity for solar and wind power to 29.9 gigawatts by 2025, the target has been adjusted to 42.7 gigawatts, as President Moon Jae-in’s Green New Deal initiative is expected to add 12.8 gigawatts. 

Korea will close down nuclear, and coal-fired power plants. Also, several coal plants will be converted to LNG power plants. 

The government’s Green New Deal will invest a total of $145 billion to create 1,9 million jobs by 2025, with a focus on renewable energy, green infrastructure, and the industrial sector. 


What change will happen in Korea in near future? 

  • Korea will install rooftop solar installations in all schools and public buildings. 
  • Massive floating solar power plant (2.1GW total) 
  • Multiple megawatt-scale floating solar plants. 
  • Korea is aiming to install 30.8 GW of solar generation capacity by 2030. 
  • Busan port 100-megawatt rooftop solar project by KOSPO 
  • World’s largest offshore wind farm (8.2 GW) in SW coast, Composed of 20 separate ventures. 
  • Total of 12 gigawatts of offshore power by 2030 from the current 0.2GW  
  • Joint in-land wind-solar projects increasing. 
  • Interest for offshore floating wind farms increasing, where Joint (domestic-overseas) expertise is needed. 
  • Korea’s wind energy market expected to grow CAGR >7% 

Many of these massive projects will need solutions, components, and services from a range of companies, domestic and overseas. Korean engineering and EPC firms are building up consortiums to take part in many of these sizeable projects. Norwegian Aker Solutions has joined forces with EDP Renewables, Principle Power, and WindPower Korea in floating offshore wind farms. Norwegian floating PV specialist Ocean Sun and South Korean energy company EN Technologies are developing pilot projects related to the 2.1GW floating mega solar plant. For the same project, the consortium led by Korean Hanwha Q Cell is the preferred bidder to provide their special panels. Another Korea’s major conglomerate SK Group is also active in other parts of the 2.1GW Saemangeum solar complex project.  

What change will we see in Korea in long term? 

  • Transportation transformation from combustion engine to EV and hydrogen engines. 
  • Energy storage transition 
  • Circular economy and life-cycle concept deeper involved in investment decision-making.  
  • Digital transformation in energy, data, government, and infrastructures 

On the nuclear energy side, pre-Fukushima, Korea had several new nuclear reactors under construction and the country’s top engineering and EPC companies were gathering technical know-how which could be also exported globally.  The reliance on nuclear power is also going down. 


Take advantage of carbon-neutral Korea drive today 

Think direct business opportunities and expand to secondary busines opportunities also! Direct business opportunities include equipment, machinery, services and financial solutions directly required for these major projects. These include for example power structure manufacturers and engineering companies, rotor blade manufacturing, engineering, and testing companies, 

gearbox manufacturers and engineering companies, rotor hub manufacturers and engineering companies, generator manufacturers and engineering companies, power converter manufacturers and engineering companies. Secondary business opportunities are present for any company providing materials, solutions, components or services to any company in the direct business category. New manufacturing plants need to be constructed, new supply chains need to be built and new service providers need to be contacted.  

On the long-term raw materials, solutions and technologies for EV and especially hydrogen vehicles will be critical for Korea as the country transitions away from combustible engines and reliance on crude oil imports. 


Further reading 

Read some of our other articles on the same topic below: 

Philippines renewable energy sector catching wind 

Philippines raising Renewable Energy ambitions 

Renewable Energy Outlook in Japan 

Keys to a successful business in the Philippines 

Renewable Energy in Thailand to double by 2030 

Renewable Energy in Korea to triple by 2030  
Indian energy sector overview 

Vietnam 2020 Renewable Energy Outlook 

Asian Insiders has completed 500+ projects for companies ranging from start-ups to global conglomerates from all over the world. Leading and working in multi-country teams is second nature to us. For more information on how to make the most out of the business opportunities in Korean markets, our expertise is at your disposal: