South Korea: Cleantech Leader Under The Radar

South Korea wind solar energy

In the clean energy revolution, much attention gets put on China, the US, and Europe. These are, of course, very big and influential markets, and it’s good to see each of them promoting clean energy in their own ways, but focusing on them so much sometimes leaves out other inspiring stories, like South Korea’s cleantech story.

South Korea hasn’t just jumped into the cleantech revolution, but has been pushing strong policies for years. In 2010, it became an offshore wind farm leader when it invested $8.2 billion into a 2,500 MW wind farm, following a pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2020 and an overall plan to invest $36 billion into such a transition. In 2011, it announced a bold plan to create 1.5 million jobs from clean energy and capture 18% of the global clean energy market by 2030. In 2012, it put forth a requirement for businesses to double thier greenhouse gas emissions reductions in 2013 compared to 2012. The country’s Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is pioneering one of the first wireless charging systems for electric buses, perhaps the first. Electric car sales in country have started to surge, thanks in good part to government incentives. South Korea is even working with North Korea on a solar power plant, showing how clean energy can unite.

Unfortunately, South Korea still relies heavily on imported fossil fuels for its energy needs, but it looks like South Korea is reducing its dependence on those imports faster than most countries. With its technological prowess and strong economy, I look forward to seeing what the country develops and accomplishes in the coming years.

Originally published on Sustainnovate.

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