POHANG, June 6 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean steel giant POSCO is faced with a dilemma over plans to build a new thermoelectric power plant.
In an effort to tackle the prevailing issue of airborne fine dust particles, the Korean government revealed a new policy last Friday to shut down old coal-powered thermoelectric power plants, and impose higher environmental standards on new plants to reduce emissions.
POSCO currently operates 13 electric generators using the by-product gases from its steel production to generate 1,091 megawatts of electricity at its Pohang Steelworks in Gyeongbuk Province. The company planned to shut down its two 20-megawatt generators (built in 1973) and two 30-megawatt generators (built in 1976), and replace them with a new coal-powered 500-megawatt generator.
The steel giant revealed that the final outcome would increase its self-generated electricity ratio from 46 percent to 80 percent, and provide 180 billion won in local tax revenue for the next 20 years.
POSCO’s proposal was being evaluated by the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy and the Ministry of Environment when the latest government policy was released to the media.
Although the new policy does not completely prohibit the further construction of thermoelectric power plants, it certainly discourages the practice. Certain experts have suggested that the new policy may push POSCO to scrap its latest plans.
“POSCO and the government’s latest efforts are equally important,” says a Pohang city official. “It’s the central government that makes the final call, so we still have to wait and see.”
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)