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Shutdown of coal-fired plants causes no power shortage

All News 10:07 June 11, 2017

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's power supply hovered above its demand for the past seven days after a temporary shutdown of eight old coal-fired power plants, government data showed Sunday, shaking off concerns over a possible shortage.

Starting June 1, the aged thermal power plants, including four in central Chungcheong Province, went offline for a month in line with the government's efforts to cut the country's air pollution.

Despite the shutdown, the country's electricity supply remained higher than its consumption for the seven-day period, according to the data from the Korea Power Exchange.

On the first day of the suspension, the maximum power demand came to 68,853 megawatts, while its generation capacity reached 81,837 megawatts, the electricity reserve ratio reaching 19 percent.

A country's power supply-demand situation is usually deemed stable when its reserve electricity reaches 5,000 megawatts or more.

Shutdown of coal-fired plants causes no power shortage - 1

Industry experts said the country will not suffer a major power shortage for the remainder of this month since its power demand is not very high between March and June.

"South Korea will not experience any disruptions in its power supply and demand because the closed plants' combined generation capacity takes up only 2.8 percent of the country's total capacity," a power industry source said.

The shutdown was a follow-up of President Moon Jae-in's order to stop operations of coal-fired plants aged 30 years or older for the whole month of June to help bring down fine dust levels.

Reducing fine dust has emerged as one of the most pressing issues for South Korea, which has been struggling with bad air, especially in spring. High fine dust levels have caused the government to ask people to stay indoors.

Coal burning is regarded as a key source of fine dust, which coupled with yellow dust largely originating from China adversely affects air conditions here. Currently, South Korea has 10 coal-fired power plants, but two of them have been excluded from the temporary shutdown this year due to a possible power supply shortage in areas they are located in.

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