City gov’t to start second round in energy project

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City gov’t to start second round in energy project

The Seoul Metropolitan Government yesterday announced that it will install solar photovoltaic panels and facilities at 40,000 households and 500 schools by 2018 to increase the share of renewable energy sources and reduce greenhouse gases.

The move is part of the second round of the city’s energy saving project designated as the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” initiative.

The first round of the project, which began in 2012, resulted in an increase in Seoul’s energy independence rate from 2.95 percent in 2011 to 4.2 percent last year, according to the city government. The rate represents the total amount of energy produced in Seoul.

As a consequence of the first round, Seoul also reduced its ton of oil equivalent (TOE) by 2 million, seen as a positive step toward efforts to reduce emissions and lessen the city’s reliance on oil for its power needs.

A TOE is a unit of energy that represents the amount of energy produced when burning a ton (7.4 barrels) of crude oil.

“We were able to achieve our mission of reducing 2 million TOE ahead of schedule,” Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said yesterday.

Building on previous successes, the municipal government said that it has set the goal of reaching 20 percent energy independence and curbing 4 million TOE by 2020.

“We will incorporate various kinds of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and fuel-cell energy to achieve that goal,” Roh Jeong-hyun, an official in the city’s environment policy division, told the Korea JoongAng Daily.

The second proposal also includes a fundraising scheme to build more photovoltaic facilities at public buildings. Photovoltaics is a method in which solar radiation is converted into electricity using a semiconductor.

The effort, called the Citizen Fund, will raise money in an anticipated return on investment of 4 percent per year. Profits from the investment will be distributed three years later.

The city government will also offer financial incentives to households that register to install solar energy panels.

“It costs around 600,000 won ($587) to build such a system at home,” Roh said. “So, Seoul supports half of that.”

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]




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