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Electricity supply remains stable despite temporary shutdown of 8 old power plants

All Headlines 10:31 July 03, 2017

SEOUL, July 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's electricity supply remained stable last month despite the temporary shutdown of eight old coal-fired power plants as part of the government's efforts to reduce the country's air pollution levels, industry sources said Monday.

Starting June 1, the thermal power plants, including four in central Chungcheong Province, were closed for 30 days. The closed plants have a combined generation capacity of 2.8 gigawatts, taking up about 2.5 percent of the country's total capacity.

The temporary shutdown will be held every year in the spring season from March to June, when electricity demand is relatively low.

According to the state-run Korea Power Exchange (KPX), the maximum power demand was 75.41 million kilowatts on June 30, up 4.3 percent from a year ago. But the country's electricity reserves stood at 12.48 million kW. A country's power supply-demand situation is usually deemed stable when its electricity reserves reach 5 million kW or more.

Electricity supply remains stable despite temporary shutdown of 8 old power plants - 1

The shutdown is a follow-up of President Moon Jae-in's drives to stop operations of coal-fired plants aged 30 years or older to help bring down fine dust levels.

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

Coal burning is regarded as a key source of the emission of fine dust, which coupled with yellow dust largely originating from China adversely affects air conditions here.

Currently, there are 10 coal-fired power plants in the country, but two of them have been excluded from the temporary shutdown this year due to a possible power supply shortage in areas where they are located.

Within the next five years, the 10 old plants will be permanently closed earlier than their original shutdown schedules, the government said earlier.

The temporary shutdown and the early closure will help reduce air pollution by 18 percent in 2022 compared with 2015, the government claimed.

sam@yna.co.kr
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