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In 2008, South Korea adopted ambitious targets for reducing its dependence on energy imports and its carbon emissions simultaneously. The first National Energy Plan called for cutting energy intensity by nearly half and reducing the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels by more than one quarter by 2030. Fossil fuels would be replaced by nuclear power and renewable sources of energy, which together would meet nearly 40 percent of South Korea’s energy needs. The achievement of these targets has been impeded by a number of obstacles, however. In response, the government has adjusted its goals, most recently with the adoption of a second national energy plan in January 2014. But especially in the critical area of nuclear power, the targets remain highly ambitious, and there are still reasons to question their feasibility. As a result, South Korea may have to moderate further its energy ambitions or redouble its efforts to achieve them.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Wiley in:

Duffield, John S. “South Korea’s National Energy Plan Six Years On,” Asian Politics & Policy 6, no. 3 (July 2014): 433-54.