In 2018, South Korea’s economy was ranked 12th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on the manufacture and export of electronics, textiles, ships, automobiles, and steel.
In 2016, South Korea signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to an 37% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on a business-as-usual case by 2030. The government has implemented a strategic energy plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase renewable energy, and improve energy efficiency.
In 2018, state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) used coal (41.9%), natural gas (26.8%), nuclear energy (23.4%), renewable energy (6.3%) and oil (1.6%) to generate electricity in the country. Solar, wind, and biomass are the primary sources of renewable energy in South Korea.
New, utility scale renewable energy projects in South Korea include:
- 1,400 MW Floating Offshore Wind Project – Macquaries’ Green Investment Group (GIG) has commenced work on a 1,400 MW floating offshore wind project 35 miles off the southern coast of South Korea. The project is scheduled to begin operation by year-end 2022.
- 133 MW Wind + Solar Project – South Korean engineering company, EPC LS Electric has commenced work on hybrid wind-solar project, which will be linked to a 242 MWh energy storage system. The project located in the southwestern region of the country is scheduled to begin operation by year-end 2020.
- 40 MW Floating Solar Project – South Korean marine engineering firm, Scotra has commenced work on a floating solar photovoltaic project at the Hapcheon hydropower project in the Korean province of Gyeongnam.
- 25 MW Floating Solar Project – In August 2020, Scotra completed of a floating solar photovoltaic project at a water reservoir in the Korean province of Jeonnam.
South Korea imports virtually all fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), which fuel power plants that generate over 65% of the country’s electricity. Nuclear power is another key source of the country’s power, however; the current government has announced plans to close all nuclear power plants by 2050.
South Korea’s government is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, the country is facing a daunting environmental challenge due to the country’s reliance on fossil fuels, plans to close nuclear power plants and limited renewable energy resource potential.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
 South Korea – The World Bank Group
 Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank
 Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”
 South Korea: Electricity Generation By Type 2018, Statista, April 21, 2020