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article imageMoon Jae-in closes 10 coal-fired power plants to combat dirty air

By Karen Graham     May 16, 2017 in Environment
Seoul - South Korean President Moon Jae-in will temporarily shut down 10 coal-fired power plants in June that are over 30 years old in an effort to mitigate air pollution, according to a statement issued by the president's office on Monday.
Reducing air pollution by closing many of South Korea's older coal-fired power plants and seriously reviewing plans to add new coal -fired power plants was one of the promises Moon made during his election, advocating for a bigger share of renewables to produce more clean energy.
So in keeping with his promise, the president's office, formally called the "Blue House," said it was temporarily closing 10 of the oldest coal-fired power plants in June for a period of one month, according to Reuters. The shutdown of the 10 plants is expected to not have any impact on the country's power supply.
"The old coal power plants generate about 4 percent of the country's total electricity, so we see power supply will be fine but we will make sure to ensure stable supply," a ministry of energy official who declined to be identified said.
LNG carrier (LNG tanker) AL KHAZNAH.National Gas Shipping Company (NGSCO) IMO: 9038440 Flag: Liberia...
LNG carrier (LNG tanker) AL KHAZNAH.National Gas Shipping Company (NGSCO) IMO: 9038440,Flag: Tokyo Bay (Uraga Channel) Japan.October 8,2012
In the statement, the Blue House also said that the older coal-fired power plants will be closed again from March to June, 2018. Additionally, the president wants to close all of the old coal-fired power plants within his presidency, which ends in 2022. In July 2016, the energy ministry proposed closing the old plants by 2025 to reduce South Korea's dependence on coal and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
South Korea is heavily dependent on energy imports
In 2015, South Korea was the world's ninth-largest energy consumer. based on estimates from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2016. And because the country lacks any domestic energy reserves, it is one of the world's top energy importers, relying on imports for 98 percent of its fossil fuel consumption.
The country ranks among the top five importers of natural gas, coal, and crude oil and other refined fossil fuel products. And because they have no international pipelines, they must rely on tanker shipments of LNG and crude oil.
South Korea will be closing 10 of its older coal-fired power plants for one month in June.
South Korea will be closing 10 of its older coal-fired power plants for one month in June.
Interestingly, out of all the electricity generated in South Korea, fully 66 percent is used by the industrial sector. This is partly because South Korea has some of the largest and most technologically advanced refineries in the world, despite having any domestic energy resources.
At the present time, the country is running 59 coal-fired power plants, with coal supplying about 40 percent of generating capacity. Nuclear power's contribution to electricity generation has fallen to 30 percent after reaching a high of about 72 percent a few years ago.
With the country's dependence on energy imports, along with its vital and continually growing industrial sector, it is surprising that renewable energy industries have made any headway in making a dent in South Korea's energy portfolio, but some progress has been made.
Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station is the world s largest tidal power installation  with a total power o...
Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station is the world's largest tidal power installation, with a total power output capacity of 254 MW. It is one of two operational stations in South Korea.
Solar and wind energy sources contribute a mere 8.0 percent to the country's energy mix, and according to Quartz, South Korea ranks at the bottom of the list for renewable energy sources out of 35 countries belonging to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
More about South Korea, moon jae in, dependent on imports, Energy sector, Renewables
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