South Korea is planning to shut ten ageing coal-fired power plants by 2025, with two of the ten to be converted to biomass power.

State-run utilities will spend $8.68bn on closures and upgrading existing plants by 2030 to lower emissions.

Seoul’s decision is in line with a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions made at the COP21 climate summit in Paris late last year.
Coal power plant cooling towers
“The shutdown of 10 old coal power plants will not affect the country’s power supply as we can replace them with alternative energy like biomass and renewables gradually,” said Yoon Jong-Keun, president of Korea Southern Power Co Ltd (KOSPO), which is owned by Korea Electric Power Corp.

Reuters reports that out of the remaining 43 coal power plants, eight that are more than 20-years old will be retrofitted to curtail emissions, while the rest will get expanded emission-reduction facilities.

Coal accounts for 40 percent of the country’s electricity supplies, with 30 per cent from nuclear and 25 per cent from liquefied natural gas.

The government is targeting $37bn in renewable energy investment by 2020 as part of an overall strategy that would see fine dust levels reduced by 24 per cent by 2030 from 2015 levels, the energy ministry said.

In Paris, South Korea agreed to reduce emissions by 37 per cent by 2030 and a ministry official said reduced coal use is expected to curtail emissions by about 6 per cent.

Energy minister Joo Hyung-hwan said the percentage of total installed power capacity from coal was expected to edge down to 26.2 per cent by 2029 from 28 per cent in 2015.

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