The great strides that the Republic of Korea has made over the last three decades are not confined to its economy. Its energy industry has similarly leapt forward in terms of infrastructure and security. Though it has no links to nearby countries that would allow it to rely on electricity imports or piped natural gas, the country has rapidly electrified, built a diverse portfolio of electricity supply, developed a robust nuclear energy industry and become one of the pioneers in the liquefied natural gas trade. As the most recent member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), this progress is remarkable and its enhancement of its policy goals – adding economic efficiency and environmental sustainability to energy security – is commendable.
Building on the liberalisation of its economy, the Republic of Korea set out an ambitious plan for reform of its state-controlled natural gas and electricity industries. However, the plans have been stalled and there is currently little vision for effective reform going forward. As the economy makes the transition to one with less phenomenal, more sustainable and less predictable growth, the IEA encourages the Republic of Korea to press forward with liberalisation in order to underpin a more flexible and efficient energy sector.
Through analysis of its existing policies and comparisons with good examples in other IEA countries, this book provides critiques and recommendations for policy improvements. Covering not only traditional energy sectors, but also energy efficiency, renewables and the environment, this review serves as a guide to understanding – and addressing – the energy challenges that face the modern Republic of Korea.