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Renewable energy

LG, SK, Hanwha accelerate shift to renewable energy with push for RE100

By Feb 10, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Hanwha QCELLS established solar panels on its roof.
Hanwha QCELLS established solar panels on its roof.

Following in the footsteps of SK Group, which last year declared that it will switch to renewable energy for plant operations, a number of South Korean companies are joining a global race for clean energy.

LG Chem Ltd., SK IE Technology Co. and Hanwha Q CELLS Co. on Tuesday announced that they will run some of their operations only on renewable energy.

The announcements come after the companies in January participated in bidding for renewable energy through state-run Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO)’s green premium program, part of Korea’s Renewable Energy 100 (RE100) initiative aimed at switching to 100% clean energy.

LG Chem said in a statement that it has procured an annual 120 GWh of renewable energy through the auction, enough electricity for about 28,000 households to use for a year.

The petrochemical and electric-car battery unit of LG Group said it will fully run its Yeosu nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) plant and its Osan Tech Center with the purchased renewable energy.

The Cheongju cathode plant that produces core materials for EV batteries will be 30% powered by renewable energy, it said.

CARBON NEUTRAL BY 2050

LG, SK, Hanwha accelerate shift to renewable energy with push for RE100
The move is in line with the company’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

"For 2050 carbon-neutral growth, we will establish concrete execution strategies in all business fields and actively procure renewable energy,” said LG Chem Vice Chairman Shin Hak-cheol.

SK IE Technology, a subsidiary of SK Innovation Co., said its two local pants in North Chungcheong Province will be 100% powered by renewable energy purchased through the green premium program. Its foreign worksites, including factories in China and Poland, will gradually introduce eco-friendly power systems, it said.

The company said it will also buy renewable energy certificates (REC) and sign third-party power purchase agreements (PPA) with renewable energy generating companies.

“We’re pursuing ESG (environmental, social and governance) management not just in products but also in our manufacturing process,” said Chief Executive Rho Jae-sok.

Hanwha Q CELLS said its RE100 initiative includes its own solar-power generation in addition to the renewable energy purchase through the green premium program.

Hanwha, which operates a solar-power generating facility with a 1,500 KWh capacity at its Jincheon plant, plans to secure an additional 2 MWh of renewable energy by setting up solar panels at company roofs.

Korea's RE100 initiative programs
Korea's RE100 initiative programs


RE100 TO IMPROVE EXPORT COMPETITIVENESS

The RE100 initiative was launched by British non-profit organization The Climate Group in 2014., and currently has more than 260 member companies around the globe, including Google, Apple, Ikea and General Motors.

The campaign, which targets companies that use more than 100 GWh per year, prompts them to transition to using 100% renewable energy by 2025 at the earliest.

In Korea, SK Group became the first business conglomerate to officially join the RE100 initiative in November 2020.

LG, SK, Hanwha accelerate shift to renewable energy with push for RE100

Some analysts say that joining the RE100 initiative will help improve a company’s export competitiveness, given the tightening global eco-friendly regulations. The international community is strengthening its eco-friendly regulations with the European Union considering introducing a carbon border tax.

KEPCO said it will hold another auction in the second half to sell renewable energy as fewer-than-expected companies participated in its first auction in January.

The purchasing price of renewable energy at the January auction was 14.6 won per KWh, 13% higher than the average power price for industrial use. Korean companies at the January bidding purchased a total of 1,252 GWh of renewable energy, about 7% of 17,827 GWh up for sale.

Write to Jae-Kwang Ahn at ahnjk@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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