UPDATE : 2018.3.22 THU 15:17
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S. Korea forms task force to reduce fine dust from coal plants

South Korea has formed a task force team to reduce fine dust from old coal-fired thermal power plants as the country moves to cope with rising air pollution concerns, the energy ministry said Monday.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the team composed of officials from state-utility firms and related agencies held a meeting to discuss ways to minimize fine dusts and other pollutants from fossil-fuel power plants, while at the same time taking steps to maintain a stable power supply for the country.

As part of such measures, state-run utility firms will suspend the operation of five coal power plants aged over 30 years from March through June, when the skies of Seoul and other major cities are intermittently covered with a thick layer of fine dust and smog.

The government will analyze the impact of the temporary suspension on air quality and prepare emergency contingencies to ensure a stable level of power supply in case of unexpected surges of demand or unexpected breakdowns of other plants.

The five power plants produce a combined 2.3 gigawatts of electricity, about 2 percent of the nation's total power generation, it noted.

The suspension of power production is part of the Moon Jae-in administration's broader energy plan, which seeks to reduce the country's dependence on coal and nuclear power and transition to renewable energy sources.

Under the plan, the government won't authorize new licenses for coal power plants and will consult with utility companies to turn their coal-fired power generation projects to natural liquefied gas stations. Existing coal power plants will be required to cut carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent by 2022 and 58 percent by 2030 to meet the national emissions reduction goal.

In 2016, South Korea set a national target under the Paris climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent from business-as-usual (BAU) levels by 2030.

Kim Su-a  edt@koreapost.com

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