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Future of carbon-neutral society: Jeju aiming to be carbon-free island Updated: 2021-01-06 10:05:26 KST

Having spent his entire life on Jeju, Kim Su-han doesn't search for a gas station, but looks for charging station when his truck runs out of fuel.

"I didn't hesitate to buy an electric vehicle because in the longer term, I think the higher price pays off very well. And since there are many EV charging stations on Jeju, it's really not all that inconvenient. Plus, it helps the environment."

But, this very charging station is unlike any other on the island in that it does not rely on fossil fuel for its electricity source.

"This electric vehicle charging station here in the center of Jeju city is powered by solar panels a perfect example of a virtuous circle of energy use."

"Renewable energy can be intermittent. So by using an Energy Storage System, we can secure enough power to fully charge 10 vehicles at the same time. We aim to install more of them in the coming years."

South Korea's southernmost island aims to become carbon neutral by 2030.
Already some fifteen percent of the total energy used on the island comes from renewable sources.
One, solar and the other is wind power.

"With a wind speed of 3 to 25 meters per hour, these 23 wind turbines in Gassiri, Jeju-do generate some 120-thousand megawatt-hours of energy in a year. That’s enough power for 30-thousand households."

These turbines use as little land as possible, allowing cows to wander and avoiding damage to the surrounding forest.

"Wind power has infinite potential because it can stretch out to the sea. And due to Jeju's geographic features and the impact of the climate, there's much more wind potential on the island than on the mainland."

So, how did Jeju become a frontier in green growth?

"Jeju has a smaller population than Seoul, for instance, making it a more ideal test bed than big cities.
Jeju's aggressive policies for green transitions along with the island's abundant natural resources have helped us reach closer to our carbon neutral goal."

It's important for the country to keep a close eye on Jeju, he says, as the problems Jeju faces today are what South Korea will face eventually and how the island overcomes these challenges will help set the carbon free stage for Korea and beyond.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News, Jeju.
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