Government pushes for cleaner energy
“We will continue to work on energy policies that will include a sustainable transition [away from nuclear energy] with a long-term vision on our energy plan,” Sung said during a National Assembly audit, a first for the minister who started working last month.
“We will come up with a plan that strengthens the ecosystem of the renewable energy industry so that the expansion of renewable energy distribution would not only increase the number of [renewable energy] manufacturers and services [providers] but also lead to the growth of related industries,” Sung said.
The Moon government’s policy of phasing out nuclear power was under attack this summer when the extreme heat wave resulted in huge demand for electricity. This led to fears that many households would face a heavy financial burden on their electricity bills.
During his confirmation hearing, Sung insisted that the government’s energy transition policy will not be an attempt to raise the electricity bill.
The government last year announced it will reduce the supply of nuclear energy from 30 percent to 24 percent while increasing the contribution of renewable energy from 6 percent to 20 percent.
Sung on Wednesday said he plans to promote new industries in the energy sector while creating a road map for a hydrogen economy, a system of deriving clean energy from hydrogen.
“In energy, managing demand is as important as managing supply,” Sung said. “The government will actively manage in optimizing the energy consumption system by focusing on raising the efficiency of existing [power] facilities while also creating a low-energy consumption community.”
On the trade issue, the minister said the government will try to minimize the damages that Korean companies may incur from expanding trade protectionism, the U.S.-China trade war and the U.S. government’s attempts to impose tariffs on imported cars.
“By diversifying export markets with other developing countries through the expansion of free trade agreement networks, we will help Korean companies advance in these markets,” Sung said.
The minister also raised the government’s efforts on improving Korean companies’ competitiveness.
He said the government will work on revitalizing Korea’s leading industries by testing new businesses that will stimulate innovative growth, helping companies find promising new areas to enter and providing support, such as financial and tax benefits.
“This will result in the creation of many good jobs,” Sung said.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [firstname.lastname@example.org]