Identifying Korea’s priorities about renewable energy and energy-efficient buildings
On 24 May 2019 the EU-Korea Climate Action project held a stakeholder consultation workshop on renewable energy and energy-efficient buildings. The workshop took place in Seoul and gathered a dozen selected Korean stakeholders from utilities, public agencies, business, research institutes and NGOs. The consultation was convened to better identify the Korean stakeholder’s cooperation interests in the fields of renewable energy and energy performance of buildings so to align future project activities accordingly, in particular in view of pilot initiatives that the project will support via a dedicated call scheduled for release in the summer.
Ahead of the consultation, the project conducted a survey on the themes of the workshop. The data collected pointed to the low acceptance of renewable power plants in neighbourhoods as the key issue about renewable energy. The most recommended solution to this problem was to engage communities through a participatory approach and to share the profit in developing renewable energy projects. Regarding the energy performance of buildings, the respondents marked aging buildings as the key issue. As a result, they recommended the project team to develop cooperation opportunities in the areas of maintenance of old buildings and promotion of zero energy buildings.
Areas of concern and the role of Europe
Following a project introduction provided by team leader, Dr. Uwe Weber, the consultation workshop developed into a lively exchange of views and comments among stakeholders.
Reiterating the survey results, all participants pointed at low community acceptance of renewable power plants in their neighbourhood as the main obstacle to a wider uptake of renewable policy in Korea. For instance, Deokhwan Choi from the Korea Wind Energy Industry Association said: “Wind power technologies in Korea are not strong. It would be great if we can learn from Europe in the area. It would also be useful if we can learn from Europe how to bring people’s participation and cooperation in expanding renewable energy.” In fact, all the consulted stakeholders expressed strong interest in learning European best practices to address this societal issue. “The EU started zero-energy building policy before Korea. It would be useful if we organize an event for policy makers from both the EU and Korea to discuss solutions for improving the Korean building policies”, stated Hongseok Shim from the Korea Energy Agency.
Other areas of concern about renewable energy include insufficient legal foundation and framework, the need for creating a new energy market, the lack of profit sharing with the local communities, reckless development of renewable energy projects which destroys the environment and limited space available for installation particularly in the high-rise apartments.
With regard to energy-efficient buildings, the stakeholders drew attention to the following aspects: aging buildings, heating and cooling energy management, lighting control, energy storage system, insulation of small apartment buildings, mandatory zero energy building certification system. They noted that while research studies on implementing net zero buildings abound, applications are lagging behind in reality. On the other hand, building energy remodelling and green re-modelling projects are underway as most existing buildings were constructed in the ‘80s and ‘90s. “In Germany, the government operates various financial support programs for improving the energy performance of buildings, but it’s not the case in Korea. The main problems are Korea’s insufficient financial support and energy and environmental policies”, said Bongjoo Kim from the Korea Land and Housing Corporation. “I believe there should be more policy measures other than financial support, targeting the tenants, not only the building owners”, echoed So-yeon Kang from the Korea Green Building Council.
The way forward
The consultation offered an opportunity for exchanging various ideas about future project activities and areas of cooperation between European and Korean climate actors. In particular, the recommendations proposed joint research projects and policy dialogues on zero energy buildings, co-organization of workshops with Korean actors on energy-efficient buildings and renewable energy, policy dialogues on renewable energy, knowledge and experience sharing between the EU and Korea on renewable policy implementation, particularly on energy. During the workshop stakeholders expressed strong interest in strengthened EU-Korea cooperation through seminars and knowledge exchanges on renewable energy and the energy performance of buildings, policy dialogue events, joint research and a library on technologies for the energy performance of buildings. “Comparing the policy difference between Korea and the EU and establishing a data library on energy-efficient buildings can be a good area of cooperation for the project team. In Korea, I think creating a market for the private sector and the financing scheme are the main key issues”, said Taeho Kim from the Incheon Climate and Environment Research Centre.
The project team is integrating stakeholders’ input into the planning of its next activities and particularly the call for expressions of interest which is expected to be released in the summer. The call will support Climate Partnerships conducting Joint Research or Pilot Projects pursuing Climate Actions.
This was the second consultation workshop held by the project. It built up on the first workshop organised on the 17th and 18th of April, 2018. The next project consultation is scheduled for February 2020.
Author: Silvia Sartori, EU-Korea Climate Action project