Renewable energy becoming cheapest energy, GGGI chief says

SEOUL, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) — Renewable energy sources like solar or wind power are rapidly becoming the cheapest form of energy thanks to recent technological developments, the chief of the Seoul-based Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) said Thursday, throwing his weight behind the South Korean government’s drive to go free of nuclear power.

South Korea is currently in a public debate after the Moon Jae-in government proposed the country phase out its nuclear power plants, a major energy supply source for its economy. The policy plan, however, caused wild resistance from industries which say going nuclear free would cost a lot more and it will be difficult to find alternative energy sources.

“The discussion we see in Korea today seems to be very similar to the same discussion we had in Germany and the United Kingdom,” Director-General Frank Rijsberman said in a press conference, drawing on the examples of countries that decided to phase out or reduce nuclear power plants, a source of radioactive incidents or environmental problems.

“Germany, after the Japanese accident (of radiation leak in 2011), indeed decided to phase out nuclear power plants quite quickly and by pushing hard on renewable energy they were actually surprised” to see the private sector, not the government, fill a big gap in the renewable energy field.

“I think now they are quite comfortable that they can meet their energy from very different needs,” the director general said in rebuttal of energy insecurity the opponents here said the shift from the nuclear power plants would bring.

“Sometimes those shifts in society, they require a lot of discussion. Usually when a country had one policy for 20 to 30 years, there’s a lot of resistance from everyone who have been implementing that,” he stressed.
“The good news about renewable energy is that it is the cheapest form of energy in many countries like India,” he also said, rejecting costs concerns.

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