Korean companies favor CFE over RE100 campaign


Korean companies favor CFE over RE100 campaign


The Korean government and industry have begun to promote the Carbon Free Energy (CFE) system, an initiative promoting 100% energy sources that do not emit greenhouse gases, including nuclear power.

The RE100, a campaign committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2050, has put many companies under pressure to secure renewable energy such as solar power. CFE is regarded as a way to respond to the RE100 campaign.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) and the Korea International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) organized the CFE Forum to discuss strategies for expanding the use of carbon-free energy and promoting it internationally.

The forum's launch ceremony, held on May 17, was attended by major Korean energy spenders such as Samsung Electronics, LG Energy Solutions, SK Hynix, and POSCO, as well as private energy companies and a number of experts.

The government and companies plan to review the CFE system to determine if it is suitable for South Korea's reality, and actively participate in the process of forming international standards in the future. The government will prepare a plan to introduce a carbon-free energy certification system within this year and conduct a pilot project next year.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the cost of solar power was US$117/MWh in Korea, US$55 in the U.K., and US$44 in the U.S. in 2022. Korean companies will lose their price competitiveness as they pay higher electricity bills, making the RE100 a de facto trade barrier for Korean companies.

The main difference between the CFE and RE100 campaigns is that CFE allows companies to use electricity generated by nuclear power. The current issue is whether Korean companies are the only ones following the CFE framework as the RE100 campaign becomes a global mainstream movement.

Some experts argue that if the RE100 campaign becomes mainstream, the Korean government's efforts to restore nuclear power plants may not be as effective as anticipated.

Major Korean companies, such as Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, Hyundai Motor, and LG, find it difficult to buck the international trend, having already expressed their intention to join RE100.

Nonetheless, it is positive that major nations like the U.S. and Japan, as well as multinational corporations like Google, are acknowledging the value of carbon-free energy sources.

In December 2021, President Biden issued an executive order mandating that all federal government facilities use carbon-free electricity but authorizing a 50% use of CFE. Meanwhile, Japan has implemented a non-fossil certificate system and a mandatory non-fossil power use system.

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