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South Korea

Crucial intelligence to understand the changing dynamics of the South Korean energy market

South Korea’s energy market is undergoing a period of transformation with the exit of coal, proposed additional nuclear, upcoming offshore wind auctions, and significant growth of onshore solar. In addition, demand is forecast to grow, in particular, as data centers and the government-backed semi-conductor industry ramp-up. The ‘rules of the game’ are also changing materially with the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) flagging new bidding and curtailment rules, new capacity payments, and proposed shifts to renewable support. Grid and land constraints also add to the complexity.

What you need to know about the market

  • 90% of mainland South Korean electricity was still produced by a combination of coal, gas, and nuclear in 2023. Grid-scale solar has seen significant growth over the last decade, and has reached 24GW in 2023, but onshore wind only 2GW. Approximately 4GW of offshore wind is expected by 2030, short of the 14GW envisioned in the 10th Basic Plan.
  • As part of the 10th Long-term Transmission and Substation Planning, South Korea is planning to build or upgrade major high-voltage transmission corridors, which could unlock up to 50GW of new renewable hosting capacity – particularly in Chungcheong, Honam, and Gangwon.
  • 17GW of additional generation capacity has received ‘construction plan approval’ as of mid-2024, and so is expected to become operational over the next 4-5 years. But currently only 2.5GW of this is renewables, with the rest a mixture of gas, nuclear, and coal.

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