President Moon Jae-in, who promised during his campaign to close aging coal-fired plants and review new coal power construction, declared this week that 10 plants over 30 years old will be temporarily shut down in June to reduce air pollution.
Combined, the plants reportedly generate around 3 GW, or 4 per cent of South Korea’s power.
The government said it will also shut down the aging plants from March to June 2018, adding that it aims to close all of the older plants by 2022.
Such a move could cost project developers millions of dollars. Companies currently involved in developing coal-fired power projects include SK Gas, East-West Power, South-East Power, Samsung C&T and Posco Energy, which is seen as having the greatest risk.
According to reports in the South Korean financial media, SK Gas could lose over KRW2bn ($1.8m) on its investments, while Posco Energy stands to lose over KRW900bn.
Of the eight projects in the works, construction has begun on just one, the 2080 MW Goseong High Power Unit 1 & 2 (pictured) in South Gyeongsang province. Work began on SK Gas and South-East Power’s KRW3.2tn project in February and is planned for completion in 2021.
Coal supplies around 40 per cent of South Korea’s power from a total of 59 plants.