The South Korean Government has laid out a vision of “low carbon, green growth,” which aims for sustainable economic growth by minimizing energy and resource consumption while simultaneously minimizing CO2 emissions. In order to promote this vision, the government settled on a basic plan of developing and popularizing the use of domestic new and renewable energy technology. This has been backed by the fact that South Korea is dependent on imports for 97% of the energy it consumes.
The “new and renewable energy” classification refers to energy from wind power, sunlight, solar heat, small hydroelectric power, geothermal heat, biomass, and waste. The targets for the amount of primary energy comprised of “new and renewable energy” are 2.4% (2007), 6.1% (2020), and 11.5% (2030). In 2007 biomass accounted for 6.0% of new and renewable energy, but the country plans to try to expand the use of biomass by raising this to 30.8% for 2030.
Due to the fact that South Korea’s land is 63% forests, the use of forest biomass will be effective in terms of both creating employment and protecting the environment. The government decided in 2010 that it would build eight new plants for manufacturing wood pellets. The use of pellets as an energy source for generating electricity and for boilers (that use heat) will expand hereafter, with it conjectured that there will be demand for 5 million tons in 2020. It cannot supply this with domestic production alone, and so 75% of this will be covered by imports. In 2009 it imported pellets from nine countries, including China, Canada, and Vietnam.
Meiken Lamwood Corporation, Ltd. (Maniwa City, Okayama Prefecture), which is a major manufacturer of laminated wood in Japan, began exporting several dozen tons worth of pellets to South Korea in October 2010. It plans to expand this to as much as 200 tons each month for the future, and is aiming to expand sales to 17,000 tons a year at full operation by securing stable sales channels.
Fig. Types and proportions of “new and renewable energy” accounting for primary energy in South Korea
Fig. Amount of wood pellets supplied
Joint Workshop: IEA Bioenergy T40/ERIA (2009) “Wood Pellet Production and Trade in South Korea”
“Korean Policy on Biofuel” by Ministry of Knowledge Economy Korea (Jan, 2010)
Japan Forest Products Journal
Forestry Policy News No. 401 (Japan Forest Investigation Committee)
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