Daegu aims to become leader in solar power

Daegu, the third largest city in Korea, and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province are busy transforming the area into a center of green energy.

The provincial office is currently building a major solar power plant in Daegu while preparing for several large-scale energy-related international events.

The province aims to turn Daegu into a world leader in solar energy, and turn the islands of Ulleungdo and Dokdo into the country's first “green islands.”

In order to achieve these goals, a large tower-shaped solar plant will be built in Daegu this year at a cost of 11.6 billion won.

The 60-meter high plant with nearly 200 solar panels will be built near a sewage treatment plant in northwestern Daegu. Once construction is complete, the plant will be Korea’s largest, capable of producing up to 200 kilowatts per hour.

Rendering of a solar power plant scheduled to be built in Daegu in 2011 (Courtesy of Daegu Metropolitan Government)

“The solar plant will help promote Daegu's role as a center of renewable energy,” said an official from Daegu Metropolitan Government in a Donga Ilbo report on March 2.

Daegu's rising status as a leader in solar energy is also being reflected internationally; recently, Professor Kim Jong-dall of Kyungpook National University and head of the Daegu Solar City Center was unanimously elected to serve a five-year term as chief of the International Solar Cities Congress by representatives from all seven participating countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began the city-based International Solar Cities Initiative in 1999 to address climate change and oil shortages. Currently, 23 cities in 15 countries participate in the program.

The first International Solar Cities Congress was held in Daegu, in November 2004. It was subsequently held in Oxford, England (2006), Adelaide, Australia (2008), and in Dezhou, China (2010).

A bird-eye view of the main stadium for the IAAF World Championships 2011 (Courtesy of Daegu Metropolitan Government)

In line with the city's green energy commitment, Daegu is busy preparing for the next World Energy Congress, which will take place in Daegu in October 2013. The World Energy Congress is the largest international gathering of its kind in the private sector and often regarded as the “energy Olympics.” It is held every three years in major cities worldwide and attracts thousands of visitors from around the globe. The city expects up to 5,000 people from more than 100 countries will attend the 2013 event.

To raise public interest and promote the congress, Daegu is also preparing to showcase solar energy facilities at the stadium and athletes' accommodations for the upcoming International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships 2011 in August.

Meanwhile, North Gyeongsang Province and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy recently announced detailed plans to make Korea's two easternmost islands of Ulleungdo and Dokdo into “green islands.”

The province will invest 360 billion won to convert the islands’ main energy sources to solar power, hydropower and biofuels by 2024. Forty wind generators will be built on Ulleungdo by 2014, along with desalination facilities, electric cars, solar-powered ferries and a green energy experience center.

By Yoon Sojung
Korea.net Staff Writer

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