South Korea has cut its 2030 renewable energy target from 30.2% to just 21.6%, as it seeks to reduce support for solar and other clean energy sources, while preparing the ground for more nuclear power and liquefied natural gas. A lobby group is now challenging the plan in the Seoul Administrative Court.
South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) recently published the 10th Basic Plan of Long-Term Electricity Supply and Demand. It reduces the 2030 renewable energy target from 30.2% to just 21.6%.
Last week, a group of 24 civic organizations filed to revoke the plan at the Seoul Administrative Court.
“The government said that the target reduction was in consideration of the public acceptance and feasibility related to renewable energy deployment,” Eunji Kim, a researcher at Seoul-based NGO Solutions for Our Climate, told pv magazine.
Kim said the change will act as a signal to the market and will affect the entire renewable energy market.
“With government goals and policies drastically changing from one administration to the next, the unpredictability will unsettle investors who would shy away from actively investing in clean energy businesses and projects in the weakening renewable energy industrial ecosystem,” he added. “Moreover, this makes it difficult for changes favorable to renewables to take place.”
Kim said the South Korean government plans to scale back its feed-in tariff policy and reduce the amount of renewable energy certificates (RECs) issued under the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) scheme for 2023 and onwards.
“The size for the solar PV bid under South Korea’s Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) scheme has been set to 1,000 MW – a 50% decrease compared to the same period last year, when 2,000 MW for each procurement exercise was allocated,” Kim said. “It looks like the renewable curtailment problem will only get worse with the latest plan decreasing the minimum output of fossil fuel power plants.”
The South Korean Energy Agency held two 4 GW of PV tenders last year. In the two tenders held in 2021, it allocated capacity in 2 GW and 2.2 GW rounds, and contracted 1.2 GW and 1.4 GW in 2020. South Korea’s new electricity plan has increased the 2030 target for nuclear power from 23.9% to 32.8% and the target for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from 19.5% to 20.9%.
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