SEOUL, Jun. 10 (Korea Bizwire) – The government plans to cut subsidies given to Solid Refuse Fuel (SRF) in which plastic waste is burned to generate heat or electricity.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said on Sunday that any plants or incineration facilities that use non-renewable SRF will be cut off from receiving Renewable Energy Certificates (REC).
RECs are renewable energy credits offered as certificates for generating electricity using renewable energy. Plants and facilities with higher RECs are offered more government subsidies.
SRF is normally divided into renewable waste, such as wood, and non-renewable waste, such as plastic. Electricity generation using SRF was offered 0.5 REC, until it was lowered down to 0.25 on December 26 last year.
This time, non-renewable SRF will be cut off from receiving any REC, which indicates that SRF will no longer be regarded as ‘new and renewable energy’.
“We have reflected the recent trend at the International Energy Agency excluding electricity generation using plastic and other non-biodegradable wastes from the list of new and renewable energy,” said a ministry official.
Out of total of 151,557,000 tons of solid waste produced in South Korea in 2017, 528,000 tons were used as SRF. Electricity generated by SRF came to 412 GWh, surpassing everyday waste (372 GWh) and industrial waste (160 GWh).
Many expect that SRF will be sidelined from being used by electricity companies once the REC are cut off.
Experts are concerned that plastic waste not used as SRF is becoming increasingly difficult to export overseas, which may lead to a significant environmental problem.
Kevin Lee (email@example.com)