Korea has set a target of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 by substantially increasing the share of renewable energy sources, gradually phasing out coal, significantly improving energy efficiency and fostering the country’s nascent hydrogen industry.
Korea’s energy sector is characterised by a dominance of fossil fuels, a strong dependence on energy imports, and the highest share of industrial energy use among IEA countries in 2018.
Energy-related emissions have increased continuously since 1990 due to strong economic growth. Korea aims to leverage the fourth industrial revolution for its energy transition and to foster green growth by means of low-carbon technologies and clean energy.
In 2015, Korea became the first country in Northeast Asia to introduce a nationwide emissions trading system. But more needs to be done to reduce the carbon intensity of Korea’s energy supply, which is above the IEA average because of the high share of coal-fired power generation.
Korea’s private sector has a high capacity for technology innovation and its population has shown an almost unparalleled openness toward digitalisation. As a result, Korea’s energy transition is closely linked to efforts to spur investments in energy storage systems, smart grids and intelligent transport systems. Government expenditure on energy-related RD&D is among the highest in the OECD.