South Chungcheong, a province home to half of SouthKorea’s coal power generation, has joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance.
Governor Seung-Jo Yang and UK Deputy Head of Mission Nik Mehta announced South Chungcheong province’s membership of the Alliance at the International Conference on Coal Phase-out and Energy Transition, held in the city of Bu-Yeo, South Korea.
South Chungcheong province becomes the 75th member of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, which was launched by Canada and the UK in November 2017. The province is the first jurisdiction in Asia to join, highlighting the growing global recognition of the importance of transitioning from coal to clean energy.
South Chungcheong province is home to the second and third largest coal fired plants in the world at Dangjin and Tae-an, each with a capacity of over 6 gigawatts (GW). As of January 2018, thirty units representing 18 GW were in operation in the province, which is twice the coal power generation capacity of Canada. South Chungcheong is the largest coal power user to join the Powering Past Coal Alliance since it was founded in 2017.
As part of South Chungcheong’s ‘2050 Energy Vision Plan’, the province has committed to use all policy and regulatory levers under its authority to accelerate the closure of coal power plants. It has announced that it will bring forward the closure of 14 coal power units by 2026; expand renewable electricity generation from 7.7% to 47.5%; reduce energy consumption; and dramatically cut air pollution. It has also committed to a just transition for the workforce and affected communities.
By joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance, South Chungcheong signals its opposition to the construction of new coal power plants, and joins 74 other members (28 national governments, 18 sub-national governments and 28 private sector members) in pushing for an accelerated global phase-out of unabated coal power generation.
South ChungCheong Governor Seung-Jo Yang said:
"Today, I reconfirmed my campaign pledge to reduce the standard life period of coal fired power plants from 30 years to 25 years, and thus transform 14 coal fired power plants into environmentally friendly power plants by 2026.
"I will actively propose to the central government to establish a coal phase out roadmap and expand the energy policy authority of local governments. I will also gradually decommission existing coal power plants and do my best to implement environmentally friendly energy transition policies and host new investment."
Welcoming the province to the Alliance, UK Deputy Head of Mission Nik Mehta said:
"On behalf of the UK and Canadian Governments, I am delighted to welcome the Province into the Powering Past Coal Alliance. South Chungcheong has a compelling story to tell as our first Asian sub-national member. We look forward to working with the Governor and his team to support and accelerate their transition from coal to clean power generation"
Coal in South Chungcheong Province
- At a national level, South Korea has seven proposed coal power plants still under construction, one of which is in South Chungcheong. Half of South Korea’s total national coal capacity (sixty-one units, 35 GW) is already located in South Chungcheong Province.
- The latest new coal unit in the province (Shin Seocheon Unit 1) is currently under construction, due for completion in 2020.
- Strong opposition in the province to the permitting of the 1 GW Dangjin Eco Power coal plant led to its cancellation, and helped push the Korean Government to convert two units in Tae-An to gas-fired plants.
- In South Korea, provincial governments have no authority over issuing power business permits (i.e., access to transmission lines and the power market) exceeding 3 MW.
- In many cases, land or construction permitting authority for large scale power plants has come from central government, under the Power Source Development Promotion Act.
- In 2017, South Chungcheong introduced the nation’s strongest air pollution standards for existing coal power plants, the first time any local government had used this authority.