March 25, 2010 / 7:30 AM / in 9 years

S.Korea to invest $1 bln in tidal power plants

SEOUL, March 25 (Reuters) - Korea Western Power Corp (WP) will invest a total of 1.22 trillion won ($1.07 billion) to build 20 tidal power plants likely from next year through 2014, the government and officials at the utility said on Thursday.

The power plants, to be located in about 200 km southwest of Seoul, will have a total capacity of 520 megawatts (MW), the world’s largest, they said.

WP, fully owned by state-run Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) (015760.KS), expects the plants to boost renewable energy consumption along with the parliament’s recent approval of a bill with the same goal. [ID:nTOE62H06F]

The plants have been planned since 1980, according to WP’s website (www.westernpower.co.kr), although it took some time due to economics until the knowledge economy minister gave its initial approval on Wednesday.

But construction cannot start until the environmental impact assessment receives final approval, one ministry official said, adding that was likely early next year.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy, heavily dependent on oil and gas imports, set a voluntary 2020 emissions reduction target last year to a 30 percent reduction from its forecast under a business as usual scenario. [ID:nSEO204081]

Renewable energy accounted for 2.4 percent of South Korea’s total energy consumption in 2008. The country aims to increase that to 11 percent by 2030. [ID:nTOE61202L] ($1=1137.0 Won)

Reporting by Cho Mee-young; Editing by Ken Wills

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