Like many other countries including Germany, Korea is facing the massive challenge of solving the energy trilemma of secure, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy supply. Due to its geographical and political circumstances, Korea is de facto an island in terms of its power system. Its power sector strategy has traditionally focused on a stable and cheap supply to promote the nation’s industrialisation. To profit from economies of scale, a single, publicly owned electric power corporation (KEPCO) was considered the best approach.
The Moon government, sworn in in 2017, presented a new vision. In order to reduce the dependence on energy imports and contribute to global efforts in fighting climate change, South Korea intends to make use of its considerable renewable energies potential, estimated to be ten times larger than its current power consumption. The country is also well positioned to establish itself as a global leader in some of the key new energy technologies such as smart grids and battery storage systems. Nevertheless, crucial challenges remain to be solved, such as completing the liberalisation of the power sector and consolidating acceptance for renewable energy.
This study, elaborated by Wuppertal Institute and adelphi for the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy in the context of the energy dialogue between Germany and Korea, investigates Korea’s strategy and regulatory framework relevant for integration of renewable energies and smart grids, as well as their status and perspectives. It then puts the findings in the global context and compares them to the situation in Germany. Finally, it derives recommendations and identifies the specific areas where closer cooperation could be beneficial for both countries.