South Korea to spend $900 million in wind energy and other renewable energy sources

South Korea plans to inject 1 trillion won ($900 million) into developing new and renewable energy sources this year with a plan to achieve $40 billion in exports in the sector by 2015, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said Thursday.

“The move came as we aim to nurture solar and wind power generation as the country’s next chip industry and shipbuilding industry, respectively,” ministry officials said.

The budget allocation for research and development of new renewable energy in 2011 was increased to 267 billion won, up 15 billion won from last year, according to the ministry.

The money will be used to develop original technologies for solar batteries, bio fuels and wind power generation as well as fostering appropriate human resources, officials said.

For commercializing the use of new renewable energy sources, the government said it will spend 311 billion won this year. The amount was raised by 20 billion won compared to 2010.

The government will assist firms and households to adopt the use of such technologies including photovoltaic, solar heat and geothermal heat, and support the establishment of infrastructure and test beds.

The ministry said it is seeking to spend 17 billion won for the organization of a new renewable energy complex in Buan, North Jeolla Province, and to spend 4 billion won to establish a wind power generation test bed in the Saemangeum region.

The government revealed an ambitious plan in October to invest 40 trillion won in new renewable energy sources over the next four years to join the world’s top five countries in the industry.

President Lee Myung-bak said earlier that the development of solar, wind power and other forms of alternate energy sources will become growth engines of Korea’s future economy.

The plan is also in line with the “low carbon, green growth” agenda which the Lee administration has been pushing strongly. The President has voluntarily vowed to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.

By Koh Young-aah,