The energy situation in Korea

The energy situation in Korea is worse than in many countries, as Korea has no viable natural energy sources and must import primary energy. In 2011, Korea imported approximately 97% of its primary energy. South Korea is the world’s No. 5 crude oil buyer and No. 2 liquefied natural gas importer and has boosted spending to acquire assets and develop oil and gas reserves, with a heavy focus so far on the Middle East and the Arctic. As a result, Korea is currently the ninth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Korea’ s greenhouse gas emission rates are increasing at the fastest rate (2.8%) in the world.

An important agenda in Korea’s energy development plan is to promote nuclear power as a strategic response in the post-fossil fuel era and as a pillar of energy security and independence. Korea mapped out its long-term energy development plan based on the 3Es — energy security, economic efficiency and environmental protection. Korea hopes to reach its long-term energy goals by

• improving energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption,

• promoting clean energy including nuclear and renewable energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels,

• boosting the green energy industry, and

• making energy sources accessible and affordable to low-income households.

Korea’s total installed electricity generation capacity, standing at 72,491 MWe as of 2008, is projected to grow to 95,115 MWe by 2020 and further to 105,195 MWe by 2030. According to the Carbon Dioxide Information Analy­sis Center (CDIAC), Korea is the ninth highest country in carbon dioxide emissions in the period 1950-2005. USA (25%), China (10%) and Russia (8%) are the top countries in carbon dioxide emission in 1950-2005.

The Korean government is focusing its efforts on nuclear power as part of a national strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to achieve low carbon sustainable growth, Korea aspiring to become a green power country with low carbon, green growth. The national vision is to become the world’s seventh largest green power by 2020 and the fifth largest green power by 2050.

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