Thursday, August 19, 2004

Korea joins the party

The Korean government has set a target of generating 5% of their energy from alternative energy within seven years.

Worryingly the Commerce Minister, Lee Hee-Beom, is quoted as saying that the government plans to drastically expand the use of solar, fuel cell, wind and hydrogen power. Hopefully he understands that fuel cells and hydrogen are not sources of energy but rather energy carriers.

Considering the close relationship between big business conglomerates (chaebols) and government he might also encourage carmakers Hyundai and Kia to do more to advance Korean development and adoption of hybrid car technology, an area currently dominated by Japanese auto manufacturers.

For South Korea, hit hard by the rise in international crude oil prices owing to its heavy dependence on oil imports, a $5 increase in international oil prices will result in a US$5.5 billion reduction in the country's balance of trade.

Korea and Japan have few fossil fuel resources of their own and are therefore heavily dependent on expensive oil and gas imports. Therefore they have much to gain from utilising alternative energy sources.

Article in Korea's Yohhap News