Two power plants on the country's west coast will face the first shutdown in 2018, with the closure program to be completed by 2025. "We will not allow new coal plants to be built in the country," said Deputy Trade Minister Chae Hee-bong said in a briefing. "Only renewable green energy power stations will produce electricity in the country." The outdated coal plants have been singled out as the main culprits of fine dust, along with old diesel vehicles. Out of 53 coal power plants operating in South Korea, 10 are over 30 years old.
Coal-powered electricity accounted for 28 percent of the country's total power production in 2015, following by nuclear power with 33 percent. The government will inject 2 trillion won ($1.73 billion) to help retrofit eight coal generators aged 20 year old or over to improve their efficiency and reduce sulfuric acid emissions. The remaining 35 plants will be equipped with desulfurization system, added the ministry.
The plan details the follow-up measures to the Korean government's efforts unveiled last month to control fine dust which has recently emerged as one of the biggest threats to public health, as the country has increasingly become more dust-polluted. Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan said the latest plan will decrease fine dust by 24 percent by 2030.