South Korea capped operations of some coal- and oil-fired power plants at 80 per cent on 7 November, as most cities, including the capital Seoul, issued an air pollution advisory. This measure is enacted when an air pollution advisory is issued and the concentration of fine particulate matter with diameters less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5) is expected to exceed 50 micrograms per cubic metre until the following day.
Seven coal-fired power plants with a total capacity of 820 MW and four oil-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 280 MW lowered their operations from 6 am to 9 pm on 7 November. The South Korean Government introduced the cap on a trial basis in October, and plans to fully introduce it from 2019.
South Korea, Asia’s fourth largest economy, has been grappling with worsening air quality. The Government halted operations of five old coal-fired power plants from March to June to reduce air pollution.
Coal power generates about 40 per cent of the country’s electricity. Last year, South Korea unveiled its power supply plan, with an aim to boost the share of renewable energy for power generation to 20 per cent by 2030, while scaling back dependence on coal power.