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[2012] Mayor’s Speech

  • Seoul to Take First Step toward Becoming the Global Climate and Environment Capital

  • [2012] Mayor’s Speech SMG 1293

    A Comprehensive Plan for the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” Campaign

    Date: April 26, 2012
    Venue: Briefing Room, Seosomun Building, Seoul City Hall

    Before starting my presentation today, I would like to ask a question. “Why should we reduce our energy demand by the amount produced by one nuclear power plant?” And then, I will talk about the significance of such a reduction in energy demand.

    The “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” campaign is an ideal combination of value and policy. Seoul has been a city of energy conservation, but now it will become an energy-producing city as well. This effort is a valuable investment in achieving a secure, sustainable environment for Seoul citizens as well as a means of establishing a spirit of co-existence and togetherness.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government came up with this campaign for several reasons. Seoul’s electricity self-sufficiency rate is a mere 2.8 percent, but its electricity demand is increasing steadily, creating a widening gap between Seoul and local regions in terms of energy equality and fairness. Also, the nuclear crisis in Fukushima served as an urgent message for everyone. The possibility of being suddenly deprived of everything we have worked so hard to achieve is now deeply imprinted on the minds of all citizens, and many have developed a greater awareness of environmental issues. Furthermore, the damage caused by climate change needs to be address by all citizens around the world in a global effort. The inherent instability of the energy supply should be considered as well. Under these circumstances, Seoul City really needs to find a clear alternative.

    The “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” campaign, which will be conducted until 2014, is a first step, representing Seoul’s administrative policies that pursue pending environment and energy issues. Through the campaign, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will increase its electricity self-sufficiency and secure safe and sustainable sources of energy, ultimately reducing its emission of greenhouse gases. As such, it is a significant investment in our future as well as in the following generation.

    So, how much energy does Seoul consume? According to data for 2011, the energy consumption of Seoul is around 17 million TOE, which amounts to 8.1 percent of Korea’s overall consumption. General household and commercial use accounts for 58 percent, reaching 89 percent if transportation is included. By energy source, oil (36.9 percent), city gas (33.4 percent), and electricity (25.1 percent) account for 95 percent of the total consumption.

    Moreover, the energy consumption of Seoul is increasing constantly. When the global economic recession hit Korea, energy consumption dropped for two consecutive years, in 2008 and 2009, but began to rise again, increasing by 4.4 percent and 7.9 percent in 2010 and 2011, respectively. However, energy consumption now continues to increase amid the prolonged economic downturn. This has been made possible as many people believe our high energy use is a sign of prosperity rather than a wasteful act.

    So, how much energy does Seoul produce? Seoul’s production of renewable energy accounts for only 3.3 percent of that of the entire nation, while, as previously stated, its energy consumption stands at 8.1 percent. As such, we must increase our production of renewable energy to secure a foundation for achieving energy self-sufficiency in Seoul in the future.

    Since the 1990s, renewable energy has become a global trend. Many advanced countries, such as the U.K., Germany, and France, are increasing the penetration of renewable energy through mid- to long-term plans. Such countries are working diligently to facilitate the growth of renewable energy by granting support for development, establishing renewable portfolio standards, and offering tax deductions on investment.

    What kind of results have they seen? In Freiburg, Germany, after building rotatable solar houses, they managed to produce five to six times more electricity than they consume. Also, the U.K.’s Totnes has established a plan to become completely independent from nuclear power and oil. These are two model examples that represent successful conversions to renewable energy through energy conservation, insulation, and solar energy.

    Now, what should we do? Regarding our campaign, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has tirelessly sought ideas from citizens.

    Our citizens are fully prepared to do whatever is required, from energy conservation efforts to the expansion of energy production. Some Seoul citizens are already active in the movement, giving the Seoul Metropolitan Government greater courage and wisdom. For the past six months, we have compiled opinions from various sources, including civic groups, corporations, academics, religious groups, and media organizations, through consultations with experts, citizen workshops, town hall meetings, and public surveys, making enormous efforts to consolidate our wisdom and smoothly initiate the campaign.

    We have begun our movement rather late compared to other advanced, environment-conscious cities, but I’m sure we can do better.

    Seoul will now take the first step toward becoming global climate and environment capital. Specifically, one of our goals is to reduce our energy demand by an amount equal to the energy production of one nuclear power plant.

    As part of the effort to establish a strong foundation for future energy self-reliance, we plan to achieve an electricity self-sufficiency rate of 8 percent by 2014, further increasing that up to 20 percent by 2020. To this end, we must conserve 2 million TOE of energy by 2014. This is roughly equivalent to the energy production of the nuclear power plant in Yeonggwang, the largest nuclear facility in Korea. Therefore, the goal of this campaign is to produce 410,000 TOE and save 1.59 million TOE. Regarding energy production, 2,392 GW•h of electricity and 200,000 TOE thermal energy could be produced using solar energy, hydrogen fuel cells, bio gas, and sewage energy sources. And with the increasing energy efficiency of buildings, penetration of LED technology, and energy conservation measures, 6,750 GW•h of electricity and 1.21 million TOE from oil and gas can be saved.

    Policy related to this initiative will be categorized into six areas: expansion of renewable energy production, increase of energy efficiency of buildings, establishment of an eco-friendly, high-efficiency transportation system, creation of jobs in the energy industry, conversion to a building structure that consumes low levels of energy, and the creation of a culture in which citizens practice low energy consumption in their daily lives.

    To carry out the 10 core projects, the city will invest KRW 636 billion, and the government will invest KRW 232 billion. Furthermore, the private sector will invest up to KRW 2.38 trillion. All in all, a total of KRW 3.22 trillion will be invested. By area, approximately KRW 2.74 trillion will be invested in the expansion of renewable energy production, and KRW 332 billion will be allocated to secure greater energy efficiency of buildings, accounting for 95 percent of the total project expenditure.

    After going to such great lengths, what are the expected benefits of the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” campaign?

    First, we expect greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 7.33 million tons. This is equivalent to creating a forest of 7,330 square kilometers—about 1,630 times larger than all of Yeouido.

    Second, if the 2 million TOE of energy that we expect to save is converted into crude oil exports, an economic benefit of KRW 2.8 trillion annually can be generated by 2016. This would allowing the total cost of the campaign—about KRW 3 trillion—to be fully recovered by 2015.

    Third, 40,000 green jobs are expected to be created, providing substantial help to the youth and elderly. If the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” campaign proceeds as planned, we will be able to decommission one nuclear power plant by 2014. After achieving this momentum, we expect to dismantle one nuclear power plant every year until 2015. Furthermore, the people’s awareness will be raised, and energy conservation and production will become a part of their daily lives, eventually leading to the establishment of social infrastructure.

    In order to achieve the goals of this plan, the active participation of Seoul citizens is required. Also, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the central government should work together to implement the plan.

    At the heart of this campaign stand all of you–the citizens of Seoul. Your awareness and practice of energy conservation and production will create a sustainable future for our city. To support you and instill greater pride, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will do everything in its power.

    Finally, I would like to seek the full support of the central government, with which the Seoul Metropolitan Government will cooperate to develop better energy policies in the future.

    Thank you.