Basic Plan on Renewable Energy
South Korea operates a number of renewable energy policy measures under a ‘Basic Plan on Renewable Energy’, which is usually renewed every five years and applies to a period of ten years or more. The latest ‘5th Basic Plan on Renewable Energy: 2020-2034’ (5th Basic Plan) was finalized in 2020. The 5th Basic Plan set a target for generating 22.2% renewable energy and 3.6% ‘new’ energy (such as hydrogen) by 2034. The Plan is intended to complement the overall power generation strategy set by the ‘9th Basic Plan on Long-Term Electricity Supply and Demand: 2020-2034', which was also announced in December 2020.
Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)
One of the major renewable energy regulations in operation in South Korea is the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The RPS requires that any energy generator over 500MW must produce a certain proportion of renewable energy within its power generation. Within the RPS, several types of energy are classed as renewable energy and are given different weightings: solar energy and offshore wind are given highest weighting, but also included are energy sources such as biogas, landfill gas, and waste-to-energy. The RPS applies to the majority state-owned Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO) and its subsidiaries, but also to larger private power generation companies such as POSCO Energy, SK E&S, and GS Power.
In December 2021, the Ministry of Trade Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced that the State Council had approved the required 2022 renewables generation proportion of 12.5%, up from 9% in 2021. The State Council also approved a plan to increase the quota to 25% in 2026, however it is unclear whether this will be amended by the new Yoon Seok-yeol government, elected in March 2022.
Korean RE-100 (K-RE100)
In January 2021, MOTIE announced the launching of a ‘Korean RE100 (K-RE100)’ policy. The policy was announced in response to the global ‘RE100’ campaign run by The Climate Group and CDP, in which companies commit to procuring 100% renewable electricity. The K-RE100 policy widens the options for companies to purchase renewable electricity within Korea, including enabling the use of Third-Party Power Purchase Agreements (3rd Party PPAs) without going through KEPCO, the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC), and on-site generation.
In August 2022, the Consultative Advisory Body on the Long-term Electricity Plans announced a working draft of the ‘10th Basic Plan on Long-term Electricity Supply and Demand: 2022-2036’, which aims to reflect the implementation of South Korea’s more ambitious 2030 NDC GHG emissions reduction target of 40%, submitted in December 2021. See the ‘Energy Transition’ tracker page for further details on renewable energy in the overall energy mix.