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Samsung Electronics’ Pyeongtaek Campus in Korea

Korea’s renewable energy supply is only a quarter of the average of 37 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Experts say that Korea is not much interested in the transition to renewable energy.

Samsung Electronics announced a plan to expand the use of renewable energy on Sept. 15 as it felt the seriousness of Korea’s poor supply of renewable energy. According to KEPCO statistics, the proportion of renewable energy-based power generation in Korea stood at 7.5 percent in 2021. Among the total power generation of 577TWh, renewable energy accounted for 43TWh. This is far below the OECD average of 30 percent.

In the RE100 2020 Annual Report, Korea was selected as one of the 10 countries facing difficulties in switching to renewable energy. In the RE100 2021 annual report, more than half of the 53 domestic and foreign RE100 member companies doing business in Korea described Korea as a country with barriers to renewable energy procurement.

Samsung Electronics cites the high price of renewable energy as one of the reasons why Korea’s renewable energy supply is not smooth. The unit cost of domestic renewable energy-based power generation is higher than that of coal- or liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fired power generation in Korea. In the United States and China, the unit cost of renewable energy-based power generation is similar to or lower than that of coal- or LNG-fired power generation. According to a Bloomberg report, the cost of solar power per kWh is 116 won in Korea, more than double that of the United States (48 won) or China (42 won).

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