Developing New and Renewable Energy Sources in Korea

by ChangSeob Kim, RaCER, Korea.  Contact the CADDET Korean National Team

INTRODUCTION

Korea has established a 10-Year Development Plan for Energy Technologies ("10-Year Plan") in order to integrate existing energy technology plans currently being pursued separately (such as energy conservation, alternative energy, and clean energy); to develop a comprehensive energy technology R&D plan as a part of Korea's National Basic Energy Plan for 1997-2006; and to formulate a more effective strategy for energy technology R&D on the basis of past achievements and experiences.

Picture

Cheju wind farm, Korea

TEN-YEAR PLAN

The 10-Year Plan incorporates the following three areas: energy conservation, alternative energy (ie NRSE) and clean energy - it concentrates on those fields for which there is significant demand, which require government-led development, and offer substantial spin-off effects and public benefits.

ACHIEVEMENTS

A total of KRW 158.2 billion has already been invested in 464 energy technology R&D projects KRW 93.2 billion from the government sector, and KRW 65 billion from the private sector, (where KRW is the Korean won).

Investment in Energy Technology R & D

AREA

PERIOD

PROJECT S

INVESTMENT
(KRW billion)

Government

Private Sector

Total

Conservation

1992-1995

216

46.2

23.8

70.0

Alternative energy

1988-1995

225

42.8

40.3

83.1

Clean energy

1994-1995

23

4.2

0.9

5.1

Total

 

464

93.2

65.0

158.2

1 US$ = KRW 900 as of August 1997

Alternative energy accounted for 0.6% of total energy supply (909,000 tonnes of oil equivalent) at the end of 1995. Solar thermal hot-water units and industrial waste incineration systems have been commercialised and the results are being disseminated. Also, certain areas of photovoltaic energy have passed the basic research phase and entered the utilisation stage, as can be seen from the expansion of use of photovoltaic power systems in small island regions.

Alternative energy utilisation goals by the year 2006
in tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE) x 1000

 

1995 (A)

2001

2006 (B)

B/A

Solar thermal

22.1

101.6

277.2

12-fold

Bio

59.4

98.1

445.8

 

Waste

804.5

2,817.0

4,657.8

6-fold

Photovoltaic

2.3

14.0

39.0

17-fold

Wind power

0.1

7.9

32.8

new

Small hydro

20.4

57.2

86.7

4-fold

Fuel cell

0.3

13.6

132.0

new

Total

909.1

3,109.4

5,671.3

6-fold

OBJECTIVES

Korea's Alternative Energy R&D activities and dissemination will focus on areas offering substantial possibilities for broad utilisation, such as solar thermal energy, photovoltaic power, fuel cells, and waste use. Korea thus hopes to increase the proportion of alternative energy in its total energy supply from 0.61% to 2% by the year 2006.

PRIORITIES

To qualify as "high-priority" a technology should present a large potential for energy conservation, and have good prospects for successful development, thereby contributing to improving the structure of energy demand and supply. The technology is preferably one for which the private sector does not wish to undertake R&D because of high commercial risks, but one which offers benefits for the public and offers potentially wide applications. The technology should be environmentally friendly.

Four high-priority programmes are selected among 11 alternative technology R&D programmes, taking into account the high probability that the technologies concerned, once developed, will be competitive with similar technologies in industrialised countries, and that they will contribute to improving Korea's energy demand and supply structure. The high-priority programmes are solar thermal energy, photovoltaic power, fuel cells, and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) systems.

Other technologies are classified into basic and general technology programmes to promote continued technology R&D. Basic technology programmes include research on technology, resources, and the current status of small hydro-power, ocean and geothermal energy. General technology programmes include energy from waste, bioenergy, wind power, and coal (excluding IGCC). There are not many research tasks for general technology programmes in order to focus study on core areas.

Investment in high-priority programmes for alternative energy technology (1988-1995)

Sector

No. of tasks

Total funds (million KRW)

Major achievements

Solar thermal

32

3,809

Commercialisation of solar thermal hot-water units

Photovoltaics

35

13,460

Completion of localisation of single-crystalline Si solar cell.  Operation of generation system in Nakdo

Fuel cells

26

17,501

Demonstration tests for 40 kW phosphoric acid fuel cell system

IGCC

15

9,053

Demonstration test for IGCC equipment of 3 tonnes/day

FUTURE DIRECTION

Korea will establish practical objectives in consideration of its technological level, availability of funds, and the likelihood of utilisation.

Korea has until now selected technology R&D areas on a bottom-up basis through demand surveys. The R&D was focused on unit technology which can be utilised and disseminated in a short period of time. Through this process, Korea laid the foundation and expanded the basis for energy technology development.

In the future, Korea must adopt a mid- and long-term investment strategy by employing a top-down method for project selection. This should be done after considering existing technology demand and accumulated development capabilities, and analysing mid- and long-term spin-off effects, the likelihood of success, and the experiences of advanced countries.

In order to enhance the efficiency of technology R&D projects, the infrastructure for energy technology needs to be improved. This infrastructure comprises international co-operation programmes, information systems, human resources and facilities.

As the results of the first stage of R&D activities are generated, institutional measures will be required to facilitate utilisation.

Korea will improve R&D project evaluation so that quantitative R&D goals can be set. Project teams will also be created for each high-priority R&D programme, so
that technologies can better complement each other, and so that overall R&D planning, research, and management can be improved.

Strategies for alternative energy technology R&D by stage

 

1st stage

2nd stage

3rd stage

4th stage

Period

1988-1991

1992-1996

1997-2001

2002-2006

Development goals

Establish research basis

Establish basis for utilisation

Develop high-priority technology

Commercialise technology

Dissemination goals (% of alternative energy in total energy)

Secure basic technology (0.5%)

Create demand, initiate demonstrational dissemination (0.6%)

Create market (1.3%)

Expand dissemination (2.0 %)

For more information contact the CADDET Korean National Team in Seoul.

The CADDET Renewable Energy Newsletter is a quarterly magazine published by the CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy at ETSU, UK.

The articles published in the Newsletter reflect the opinions of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official view of CADDET.

Enquiries concerning the Newsletter should be addressed to
Pauline Toole, Editor, CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy, ETSU, Harwell, Oxfordshire OX11 0RA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1235 432968, Fax: +44 1235 433595.