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South Korea considers raising LNG capacity

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LNG Industry,

Reuters are reporting that South Korea is lining up plans to lift its power production capacity by up to a tenth by 2030, mostly using LNG and renewable energy in an ambitious drive to cut decades of reliance on coal and nuclear plants.

A draft policy paper unveiled by Seoul’s energy ministry on 6 September showed it hopes to meet rising demand in Asia’s fourth-largest economy by adding 5 – 10 GW to its installed capacity base – approximately 4.7 – 9.5% of current capacity – mostly from LNG and renewables.

But the numbers highlight the challenge Seoul faces in meeting new President Moon Jae-in’s campaign promises. Moon wants to generate 20% of Korea’s power from renewables by 2030, up from 5% now. Even if renewables take up all the new capacity outlined on 6 September, other steps may be needed to meet the radical goal.

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.

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

But President Moon won office in early May this year, running on a campaign that featured pledges to move away from coal and nuclear power to allay public concerns over safety and air pollution.

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

The fate of two partially-completed nuclear reactors remains unclear. The government suspended construction of Shin Kori No.5 and Shin Kori No.6 reactors until it gathers public opinion by October whether they should be cancelled amid concerns over atomic safety.

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