South Korea has a population of 51 million people and is one of the world's major economies. It’s a leading global exporter of cars and electronic goods, but heavily reliant on fossil fuels. Despite South Korea having a 2050 net zero target, wind and solar accounted for just 5.4% of South Korea’s electricity production in 2022.
Our work in South Korea seeks to change this. The country is regularly cited by RE100 members as one of the most challenging markets to buy renewable electricity. Members source only 2% of their electricity from renewables in South Korea, compared to the global average of 49%. Corporates cite the lack of procurement options, the high cost/limited supply of renewables, and grid inflexibility as significant barriers. Disappointingly, the government’s ‘10th Basic Energy Plan’, released at the start of 2023, reduced South Korea's 2030 renewable energy target from 30.2% to 21.6%.
Recent policy updates
In March 2023, we launched the RE100 Localised Policy Messages for South Korea. These messages are designed to remove barriers to renewables and to help RE100 members achieve their 100% renewable electricity targets. You can read our Localised Policy Messages (LPM) for the Korean market here. A version in Korean is also available. In this June 2023 blog, we set out where further policy progress, in line with our LPMs, is needed to unlock accessible and affordable renewable electricity.
The updated Korean Carbon Neutrality and Green Growth Plan, released in March 2023, included language directly replicating that used in the RE100 South Korea Localised Policy Messages.
The government took action in January 2023 to remove unfair contractual obligations that existed with Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), by addressing the double charging issue. This reflects progress on RE100's policy messages.
Previous policy successes
RE100 has become a byword for renewable electricity in Asia-Pacific, especially in South Korea, where parliamentary records show RE100 mentioned on a more than weekly basis.
In this letter from November 2022 to the government, RE100 businesses called for accelerated action on renewables in South Korea. The government responded directly to the letter, emphasising the significance of the RE100 voice in South Korea.
- RE100 and its members have long championed a direct PPA system in meetings with government representatives. We’re pleased to report that South Korean businesses can now directly buy renewable electricity from providers, without needing to go through the country's utility company (KEPCO).