South Korea hot for solar energy

10th May 2007
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The town of Shinan in South Korea is planning to host the world’s largest solar power plant, following government plans to generate 10 per cent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The new plant, which will feature 109,000 solar modules covering an area the size of 80 football fields, will track the sun during the day to enable the generation of up to 20 megawatts of electricity. The panels will supply between 6,000 and 7,000 households, saving some 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

The initiative, due to be completed by the end of 2008, will start generating power as work continues on South Korea’s gigantic tidal power plant, strung between four islands west of the capital Seoul. The tidal plant, which will similarly be the biggest in the world, is slated for completion in 2009 and will generate 812 megawatts of electricity.

The South Korean government agreed to subsidise these programmes as it acknowledged that the country’s emissions of greenhouse gases are rising faster than in most other industrialised nations, due mainly to a burgeoning export economy.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist May 2007

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