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Electricity in South Korea in 2023

Global Ranking: #18
38.7% #87 Low-carbon electricity
1302.87 watts #14 Generation / person
413.46 gCO2eq/kWh #98 Carbon Intensity

Based on our forecast model which integrates actual data up to October and predicted data for November and December 2023, our observations suggest fossil fuels still govern more than half of South Korea's electricity generation at approximately 60%. This is chiefly dominated by coal and gas which together contribute to roughly 59% of the total energy mix. However, it is reassuring to note that the remaining part is extensively contributed by low-carbon sources which make up for almost 40% of the electricity generation. Within this, nuclear energy signifies the major player providing nearly 29% whilst solar, biofuels, and hydropower collectively make up close to 9%.


To further enhance their low-carbon electricity output, South Korea could look into expanding its existing nuclear power infrastructure. Currently, nuclear power in South Korea is a significant source of its electricity production. Therefore, leaning towards the further development of this clean energy could yield noticeable results. For inspiration, they might look to France and Slovakia, where nuclear energy is responsible for 66% and 61% of their electricity output respectively. These countries are exemplary cases of adopting low-carbon energy in a successful and impactful manner.


Delving into the history of low-carbon electricity in South Korea, it is evident that nuclear power has been a major player since its introduction in the late 1980s. In the initial years, the growth was steady with an accumulated increase of around 30 TWh from 1986 to 1989. The late 90s and early 2000s witnessed relatively consistent growth with few hiccups, the most significant rise being 16.1 TWh in 2005. The growth continued until 2015 when a steep decline was observed in 2017 and 2018 with generation dropping by 13.6 TWh and 14.9 TWh respectively, a trend that was quickly reversed with an encouraging increase of 12.4 TWh in 2019. Biofuels also played a role, showing a commendable increase of 6.8 TWh in 2021. However, a setback was faced the following year with a decrease of 7.3 TWh in 2023.

Electricity Imports and Exports

Balance of Trade

Data Sources

For the years 1980 to 1984 the data source is EIA.
For the years 1985 to 2005 the data source is Energy Institute.
For the years 2006 to 2012 the data source is Ember.
For the years 2013 to 2019 the data source is IEA.
For the years 2020 to 2022 the data source is Ember.
For the year 2023 the data source is LowCarbonPowerForecaster.
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