South Korea to invest $1 bln into wind energy and solar power in 2012

South Korea will invest 1.08 trillion won (around 1 billion U.S. dollars) into research and development (R&D) for energy industry this year in a bid to secure fresh energy resources and brace for the possible accidents involving nuclear power plants, the economy ministry said Tuesday.

The funds will be spent for 19 energy projects divided into four divisions, including the development of energy resources, renewable energy development, nuclear power generation and radioactive waste treatment, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

The ministry planned to reduce energy costs by enhancing the efficiency of energy-inefficient home appliances mostly used by low-income earners and the elderly, and it will help local companies develop new future technologies that cover energy storage, tech convergence, solar power and wind power.

The government’s support will be given to promising renewable energy sectors, including solar power, offshore wind energy, solar photovoltaic cell and fuel cell, in a bid to help them expand into overseas markets, and the ministry planned to promote nuclear power exports by strengthening the safety of nuclear reactors against possible accidents such as earthquake and tsunami.

The South Korean government will continue to foster the nation’ s smart grids industry to secure stable electric supply, while helping develop technologies in the energy storage sector, the ministry said.