Energy Policy in Korea with special attention to Nuclear Energy Policy
Last year, with a per capita energy consumption of 5.27 tonnes of oil equivalent (22.1 PJ), Korea was one of the most energy-intensive of the OECD countries. Without doubt, a policy of keeping energy prices low has led to an energy-intensive industrial structure, which makes the economy very vulnerable to oil market instability. This in turn causes potential electricity shortages in hot summer days and cold winter nights. Electricity and city gas prices are politically decided and there is no room for market forces to affect them. The nuclear power industry, the backbone of electricity generation in Korea, has experienced growing opposition after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima (Japan) in March 2011. It is not clear whether new nuclear power plants can be constructed as planned. Thus, the current energy policy, oriented toward a constant expansion of the energy supply, cannot continue as before. There is a need for a radical reform in the energy market policy in Korea. A per capita energy consumption of over 5 tonnes of oil equivalent is too high. There is a need for radical measures to reduce energy consumption and, in turn, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This presentation will discuss various issues of the Korean energy policy such as energy pricing and nuclear energy development.
Dr. Hi-chun Park is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Inha University in Incheon, Korea. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. From 1982 to 1985 he was an expert in integrated energy planning at the United Nations Asian and Pacific Development Centre (UN-APDC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. From 1985 to 1987, before joining Inha University, he worked as a research fellow at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET), a government think tank. He presided in 2001, 2003 and 2004 the Korea Resource Economics Association. He has advised in various functions the Korean government and Korean energy industries. He has been president of the Korean Petroleum Industry Development Forum and the Study Group on the Natural Gas Industry in Korea. He was a lead author of the Non-Energy Product Uses of Fossil Fuels and Completeness of Reporting (Chapter 5) of the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. He has recently been working on energy efficiency in energy-intensive industries, greenhouse gas emissions in non-energy product uses, and energy market studies.