President Moon Jae-in called Tuesday for sharply expanding renewable energy production, saying it's not only clean and safe, but the industry will also create a number of jobs and help fuel economic growth.
Moon made the remark during a ceremony held in the southwestern coast city of Gunsan to announce ambitious plans to establish one of the world's biggest renewable energy production complexes on the Saemangeum reclaimed land in the region.
"Renewable energy is healthy energy that protects the safety of the people, and it is also a new growth industry of the future," Moon said during the ceremony, adding that advanced countries around the world are racing to expand renewable energy use.
As of last year, renewable energy accounted for about 25 percent of the total power production among the member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Moon said. China also relied on renewable energy for more than 25 percent of its power needs, he said.
Moreover, about 73 percent of newly built power generation facilities in OECD nations last year were for renewable energy, he said.
"Compared with this, we lag embarrassingly far behind," he said. "The proportion of renewable energy was only 8 percent last year and about half of it was waste power production."
Moon said that developing and nurturing environment-friendly renewable energy is one of the 100 key goals of his administration, and the government hopes to increase renewable energy to account for 20 percent of the total power production by 2030.
The industry is also good for job creation, he said.
Moon took Denmark as an example, saying wind power production accounts for 8.5 percent of the country's total exports, and the industry has an effect of employing about 33,000 people. Moon visited the European nation earlier this month.
"From there, I was able to see the future of Saemangeum and North Jeolla Province," he said. "Like Denmark, North Jeolla Province has good conditions and environment to grow with the renewable energy industry."
Solar and wind power plants to be established at Saemangeum will serve as a chance to dramatically increase the competitiveness of the country's renewable energy industry and provide good business opportunities for renewable energy firms suffering from the lack of domestic demand, Moon said.
As part of the renewable energy complex project, the state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. said it will push to build one of the world's largest floating solar farms in Saemangeum.
The subsidiary of the Korea Electric Power Corp. said it has signed an agreement with the provincial government and related ministries to build a 300-megawatt floating solar farm and energy grid system.
The company said it aims to share the profit from power generation with local residents, without elaborating on the value of the project or its construction schedule. (Yonhap News)