Feasibility trade-offs in decarbonisation of power sector with high coal dependence: A case of Korea
Decarbonisation of the power sector requires feasible strategies for rapid phase-out of fossil fuels and expansion of low-carbon sources. This study develops and uses a model with an explicit account of power plant stocks to explore plausible decarbonization scenarios of the power sector in the Republic of Korea through 2050 and 2060. The results show that achieving zero emissions from the power sector by the mid-century requires either ambitious expansion of renewables backed by gas-fired generation equipped with carbon capture and storage or significant expansion of nuclear power. The first strategy implies replicating and maintaining for decades maximum growth rates of solar power achieved in leading countries and becoming an early and ambitious adopter of the CCS technology. The alternative expansion of nuclear power has historical precedents in Korea and other countries but may not be acceptable in the current political and regulatory environment.