Korea facing renewables congestion in Southern Regions

KEPCO | From 765kV Transmission & Substation Facilities Exhibition Hall

A Korean expert expressed concerns about the geographical imbalance of renewable energy assets in the country.

In Korea-EU Renewable Energy Policy Workshop held on March 24, a KEPCO expert from Power Grid division called attention to the disparity, which is causing pressure to the grid network and even causing connection delays.

According to Oh Hyeon-jin, Korea’s renewable energy capacity is concentrated in the southern regions of Honam and Yeongnam. To make the congestion even worse, most of the assets are crowding in the rural areas with lower land value, which have not enough grid infrastructure to support heavy grid connections, let alone exploding grid connection queue for renewables.

Table of Korea's renewable energy assets in 2031, projected
Table courtesy of Oh Hyeon-jin. Translated by K-Renewables | Projected renewable energy asset distribution in 2031 according to '8th Basic Plan for Electricity Supply and Demand’ and other data. Click to enlarge. Source in description.

The imbalance would not go away itself, as the country’s ‘8th Basic Plan for Electricity Supply and Demand’ will have 58.6GW of renewable capacity by 2031, and around 60% of it will go to Yeongnam and Honam. Oh added that facilities for renewable energy production take much shorter time to build (less than a year for a PV farm, 3 years for a wind farm) than grid infrastructure (6 years for 154kV substation and transmission line), making the problem even more complicated.

To lower the pressure, KEPCO is adding more substations, transformers, and distribution lines, according to Oh’s data. Oh also listed ESS, connection code optimized for renewables, real-time monitoring system for energy production, renewable facility allocation scheme, incentive policy, and auction as solutions under review or development.

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