Replacement of coal-based power plants with gas-based to help continue thermal generation dominate in South Korea, says GlobalData

Despite renewable capacity growth, South Korea will continue to use thermal sources for majority of its power generation through 2030. The annual generation from thermal sources is expected to reach 397.77 TWh in 2030 from 362.04 TWh in 2020. Thermal power will account for 61.5% in South Korea’s annual power generation in 2030, whereas renewables will account for only 16.6%, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s report, ‘South Korea Power Market Outlook to 2030, Update 2021 – Market Trends, Regulations, and Competitive Landscape’, reveals that South Korea envisages to shut down around 30 coal-fired power plants by 2034 once they complete their  operational lifetime limits of 30 years. However, around 24 of these facilities will be converted to liquefied natural gas power plants to ensure a stable electricity supply.

Rohit Ravetkar, Power Analyst at GlobalData, says: “Despite the South Korea working towards reducing its dependence on thermal power generation, annual power generation through thermal sources is estimated to hold the highest share during 2021-2030. Although the government is retiring old coal-based power plants, gas-based power plants are expected to replace them. Annual power generation from gas-based power plants is expected to increase from 133.65 TWh in 2020 to 186.15 TWh in 2030.”

With the government shutting down old nuclear reactors and power generation from renewable segment witnessing slow growth, the rising power demand in the country will have to be met by thermal power generation.

Mr. Ravetkar concludes: “The country is expected to add significant renewable capacity during 2021-2030. From 24.42 GW in 2020, the renewable capacity is expected to reach 60.01 GW in 2030, growing at an impressive CAGR of 9.4% from 2020 to 2030. Despite adding large renewable capacity in its power mix, the annual generation share of renewable power will only reach 16.6% in 2030 from 8.1% in 2020. South Korea being a peninsula has huge potential to harness power from offshore wind plants and should focus on adding large offshore wind capacity in coming years.”

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