Korea builds world’s first sea algae bio-ethanol pilot plant

The Goheung-gun government held on June 24 the dedication ceremony of the ‘Sea Algae Bio-ethanol Pilot Plant’ at the Sea Algae Bio-ethanol Research Center that can produce 1.2 million liters a year. The sea algae bio-ethanol is the third generation bio-energy.

The dedication ceremony was attended by about 500 officials, industry executives and regional residents, including Governor Pak Byeong-jong of Goheung-gun, Speaker Pak Geum-rae of the Goheung-gun Council, Director General Im Yeong-muk of Green Growth Office at Jeollanam-do, and officials at the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning. At the ceremony, Biol Systems (President: Kim In-sik), which has original technologies for producing bio-ethanol, conducted trial run of bio-ethanol processing facilities, and took a car for a test drive using produced bio-ethanol as fuel.

Since the Goheung-gun government and Biol Systems concluded an MOU in 2009 to produce sea algae bio-ethanol as part of the new growth engine fund program of the central government, the two organizations constructed the pilot plant in space of 3,362.7 square meters, investing a total of 15 billion won (9 billion won of government fund plus 6 billion won of private capital). Its facilities include those for preprocessing, saccharification, fermentation, distillation and anhydrization. After conducting test run, they elicited the underlying engineering solution for commercial plant.

For full article, see Energy Korea.

Korean government may raise share of renewable energy in national energy action plan

The South Korean administration under the leadership of President Park Geun-hye will be presenting an outline of its second national energy action plan in August this year.  The national action plan is the highest-level plan that sets out energy policies for the next five years in consideration of the following two decades. The second version will publicize the share of nuclear power generation out of total energy mix for the first time, which has recently emerged as a hot potato issue.

“A working-level group will be created this month to develop the second national energy action plan,” said a senior official at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE). The outline is drawing keen attention from the power generation industry and environmental groups as it reveals the government’s stance on running nuclear power plants over the mid to long-term.

The government had said in its first action plan it would raise the share of nuclear power to 59 percent of the nation’s total energy mix by 2030. The government had concluded nuclear power is the realistic alternative to support green growth of promoting economy and reducing carbon emissions. To achieve the goal, the government had aimed to build a total of 40 nuclear power plants by 2030. Nuclear power accounted for 29.8 percent of total power generation last year, and thus the government has to construct far more nuclear power plants to fulfill its initial goal.

For full article, see Maeil Business.

Park ditches ‘green growth’ in environmental policy shift

Korea has been credited with establishing “green growth” as an international goal.  Former President Lee Myung-bak touted it as the next big thing, harmonizing environmental protection and economic development.

A slew of projects, including a river restoration, were pushed in its name and Korea carved its place in the international community by bridging rich and poor countries whose priorities clashed. Like many of his policies, however, “green growth” is now at risk of sinking into obscurity, as the new government conducts a comprehensive policy review.

President Park Geun-hye and her officials are openly skeptical toward Lee’s green packages, saying they were too oriented toward economic growth. They hinted at a shift back to the goal of sustainable development, which Lee had ditched as outdated. Government agencies are investigating the controversial river project over not only its negative impact on water quality but also unsavory ties between the government and contractors.

Cheong Wa Dae has sharply scaled down the Presidential Commission on Green Growth, which was set up by Lee in 2008 as the main driver of the policy, and demoted it to an office under the prime minister. Even the post of ambassador for green growth has been abolished, stoking concerns of a reduced role for Korea in global environmental activities.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Government plans 18 thermal plants

Korea will build as many as 18 thermal power plants by 2027 while also significantly expanding the generation capacity of clean, renewable power sources, such as solar and wind farms, the government said yesterday. The move comes as the country’s electricity consumption is expected to grow by an annual average of 2.2 percent, from 482.5 billion kilowatt-hours this year to 655.3 billion kilowatt-hours by 2027.

The country’s peak power demand is expected to grow at a faster rate of 2.4 percent per year from 79.7 million kilowatts in 2013 to over 110 million kilowatts in 2027, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The government sets a 15-year power supply plan in place every two years. The latest is the sixth of its kind. Under the new plan, the government seeks to increase the total generation capacity of clean, renewable sources to 12 percent of total consumption in 2027, compared with only 7 percent in 2025 under the fifth power supply plan announced two years earlier.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

Green energy industry prospects dimming

2013_02_RNE-koreaThe nation’s clean energy businesses are going downhill, squeezed by a slump in domestic demand and exports, according to a report. The report released by the Renewable Energy Center under Korea Export-Import Bank forecast that sales of the local renewable energy industry were expected to post minus growth this year over 2012, mainly due to slow local demand. Sales in the clean energy industry have shown a downward trend for two consecutive years in 2011 and 2012, after peaking in 2010 at 8.1 trillion won ($7.5 billion).

In sharp contrast, the global renewable energy market has continued to grow amid the world’s economic downturn for the past five years and it is expected to grow 4 percent to $271.3 billion this year compared to more than a year ago, CleanEdge, a U.S. energy consultancy, said.

The local renewable energy industry also hasn’t performed well in exports since 2010. Outbound shipments are forecast to fall 9 percent on-year to $3.82 billion this year, which will be the biggest drop in three years, the Renewable Energy Center said.

For full article see Korea Herald.

Korea to expand renewable energy’s role in power supply

Korea’s dependency rate on renewable energy sources in total electricity supply is likely to rise to 12 percent by 2027, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy seid on Thursday. In the first National Energy Basic Plan for 2008 to 2030, the energy policy master plan, the portion of electricity from renewable energy sources to the total supply by 2027 was put at 7 percent.

The new target for renewable energy sources came in a draft of the 6th Basic Plan for Long-Term Electricity Supply and Demand for 2013 to 2027. This plan is updated by the ministry biannually for the nation’s long-term electricity-related policy direction, and the ministry will finalize the draft by next week at the latest following a public hearing and a review by the electricity policy committee.

According to the draft of the sixth, the ministry will increase the total electricity generation capacity to 130 million kilowatts by 2027, a 20 to 30 million kilowatt increase from the previous plan, to iron out an electricity shortage issue.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Renewable energy drive makes little progress

The nation’s drive to increase electricity generation from renewable energy sources is facing rough sailing as a number of power and utility companies failed to meet their green energy production targets in 2012. The targets were set by the government under a regulation called the renewable portfolio standard, or RPS.

RPS, which was introduced in January last year, is an annual renewable energy development quota for state-run and private power and utilities companies with more than 500 megawatts of power generation capacity.

In 2012, 13 companies, including six units of the Korea Electric Power Corp. and POSCO Power and GS Power, were subject to the RPS, which was set below 2 percent of energy production. “Most state-run power generation companies failed to meet their 2012 RPS due to a variety of reasons,” said an official from Korea Midland Power, one of KEPCO’s subsidiaries.

The Korea Energy Management Corp. said that the 13 companies are expected to have achieved only 50 to 60 percent of their annual quota.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

Seoul City plans solar panels

Seoul Metropolitan Government  unveiled a plan to install solar panels on around 10,000 buildings, schools and houses by 2014. The city aims to increase the use of photovoltaic energy to 320 megawatts of electricity by that year.

Half of the energy will be generated from rooftops or idle facilities of public offices and schools, while the other half from private buildings and houses. The city will also make an online solar map that shows the expected generating capacity of the solar power and whether buildings and houses can be equipped with photovoltaic facilities.

For full article see Korea Herald.

Korea develops efficient, marketable bio oil plant

A Korean scientist has developed an indigenous technology to produce bio oil from only wood scraps that can be put to commercial use in the near future, a state research center said Thursday.

Such a technology already exists and is in use in other countries, but the new, indigenous technology will prove to be equally efficient and less expensive, according to the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM).

A prototype plant, developed by KIMM researcher Choi Yeon-seok, produces 9 kilograms of bio-crude oil per hour, using only 15 kilograms of sawdust.

For full article see Korea Times.

Jeju island to run on renewable resource by 2013

The Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, in conjunction with the central government, has announced its “Carbon Free Island Jeju by 2030” plan which aims to make the island carbon free and self-sustainable through renewable energy resources by 2030.

According to the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Smart Grid Division, the government body responsible for the implementation of this plan, the “Carbon Free Island Jeju by 2030” project will be executed in three steps: first, Gapado will become a carbon free island and a model for the rest of Jeju by this September. Second, by 2020 Jeju will run on 50 percent renewable energy. And thirdly, by 2030 all of Jeju will be 100 percent carbon free.

“By 2020 Jeju’s goal is 50 percent of all its energy will be renewable,” said Lee Ji Hoon of the Smart Grid Division. “By 2030, 100 percent of [the island’s] energy will be renewable [and] the government hopes that Gapado will be a model.”

For full article see The Jeju Weekly.