Seoulites’ Concerted Efforts towards Renewable Transition of 100%
University of Bristol, Seochan Jeon
The current international community is experiencing a dire climate change and as the impacts are getting ever more prevalent, many have started to pursue sustainable development and green growth. In this regard, I attended the 8th International Renewable Energy Conference held in Korea (KIREC) in October 2019 that shed light on discussing the renewable transformation within municipalities. During the session “Cities: Their Roles in Advancing the Renewable Energy Sector Transformation”, invited speakers discussed efforts and obstacles in urban renewable transformation and possible solutions. Korea has experienced extreme weather conditions and thus recently embarked on RE transition. In this regard, Korea, especially Seoul, should be studied in order to figure out the possible obstacles and solutions in RE transition. Korea has commenced its path towards green energy transition by publishing Renewable Energy 3020 Action Plan in 2017 (Korea Energy Economics Institute 2018). Seoul aims to achieve RE transition in several directions, from providing solar panels to households to increase electric vehicles. In addition, Seoul’s energy initiative [One Less Nuclear Power Plant] since 2014 has contributed substantially to energy saving and efficiency. Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) accordingly introduced a comprehensive energy plan, whose long term goal is to reach 20 percent of energy self-sufficiency by 2020. Also, the citizens of Seoul enjoy long term low-interest loans and Eco Mileage system. Furthermore, the significance of Seoul’s RE transitions lies in that it aims to advance RE businesses with local government, citizens, and businesses that bring up partnerships between various subnational sectors. Energy welfare project from OLNPP in Seoul was invested up to KRW 2.2 billion for Repairs of Hope project, a part of BRP. Multiple deals including MOUs with businesses and civic organisations enabled decrease of BRP execution costs. In particular, insulation provision for citizen welfare from a business was conducive to dropping major costs. As a peninsula, Korea is prone to impacts of climate change and has suffered from sea-level rise. To solve this, Korea, especially Seoul, is working towards RE transition through diverse mechanisms. Although there are some limitations in informing public-private sectors’ partnerships in detail, the partnerships among subnational sectors of Korea are getting more active and heading towards the right direction. Therefore, urban sectors in Korea must recognise the current needs in renewable energy and put forward the comprehensive policies that fulfil various actors in this society.