South Korea looks to shut down 20 coal-fired plants

Its aims to import more gas-fired power from Indonesia, Australia, and Russia.

As the city of Seoul seeks to amp up the share of renewables in its energy mix, 20 ageing coal-fired plants could soon meet their end, Reuters reports.

South Korea, the world’s fourth-biggest coal importer, is expected to accelerate targets for green energy in an updated 15-year energy plan later in 2019 as its major cities suffer from smog and its government gets pressured to meet emission reduction targets.

The country began its transition to cleaner energy in a 2017 power supply plan that aimed to boost the share of renewables from about 6% to 20% by 2030, whilst scaling back coal and nuclear power.

Amidst public anger, the government in March designated pollution a “social disaster”, and a month later pledged to boost renewable energy to up to 35% of total energy supplies by 2040.

The 2019 energy plan is expected to reflect the push for even more renewables and more gas-fired power at the expense of coal, imported from countries such as Indonesia, Australia and Russia.

Coal imports fell nearly 9% in the first four months of 2019 when coal’s share of the country’s energy mix fell by more than 5 pp to around 37%, although most of the slack was taken up by nuclear, rather than renewables.

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