• South Korea is likely to miss its 20% renewable energy target by 2030, according to Wood Mackenzie
  • It sees the country falling short of the target at 17% by target year with renewables capacity to triple from 2019 to 60.5 GW by 2030
  • Solar and wind together will account for 11% of total energy mix, as coal and nuclear will most likely represent 40% and 25% of the total
  • It suggests encouraging corporate power purchase agreements and constant review of the annual Renewables Portfolio Standards targets and the Renewables Energy Certificate multipliers to ensure the country can meet its renewables target

Energy and research consultancy Wood Mackenzie believes South Korea will not be able to achieve its 20% renewable energy generation target by 2030; instead it is likely to settle for about 17%. At the end of 2018, the country had a 7% share of renewables in its total power consumption.

Zi Sheng Neoh, managing consultant at Wood Mackenzie, termed the 20% target as ambitious and sees renewables capacity led majorly by solar and wind power to triple from 2019 to 60.5 GW by 2030. Solar is expected to reach 37.5 GW, which would be four times the 2019 capacity. It is supposed to come mostly from distributed solar applications. Offshore wind power capacity is expected to increase 64 times to 6.4 GW by 2030.

According to the consultancy’s report released on the subject and reported by Reuters, solar and wind are likely to account for 11% of the total energy mix by 2030, while its dependence on coal will remain as it would represent 40%; nuclear will comprise 25% of the total. Official targets for coal and nuclear by 2030 have been fixed at 36% and 24%, respectively.

One big solar project the country has been working on is the 4 GW Saemangeum Renewable Energy Complex with solar expected to make up 3 GW of the total to be implemented by 2022 (see 4 GW Solar & Wind Complex For South Korea). However, the project is facing scrutiny on economic feasibility, benefits to local solar manufacturing industry, and environment concerns. Yet, the consultancy expects at least 1 GW of solar capacity at the complex to be grid connected by 2022. This is the year when the incumbent government led by Moon Jae-in is ending its term.

While the country is offering incentives to spur growth and interest in energy storage technology, it still needs to escalate its renewable capacity installations.

To reduce cost, there has to be access to corporate power purchase agreements which allows businesses to purchase electricity directly from renewable generators,” suggests Neoh. “On top of that, the annual Renewables Portfolio Standards targets and the Renewables Energy Certificate multipliers have to be consistently reviewed to ensure the mechanisms are fair to consumers while remaining attractive to investors to drive the renewables growth in South Korea.”