South Korean power generation increased to the highest level since January, at 52TWh in July amid soaring temperatures, which reached 40°C . Coal-fired generation increased to 22.2TWh, up 26.7% m-o-m but just 0.9% higher y-o-y.
Gas-fired generation increased to 12.7TWh, up 4.4% m-o-m and up 4.3% y-o-y.
This is in line with President Moon Jae-in’s aspiration to move away from coal-fired generation in favour of gas, as highlighted in the recent proposal to raise the coal consumption tax further in April 2019 while at the same time lowering the equivalent tax on gas usage.
Meanwhile, nuclear generation increased to 13.1TWh, up 15.5% m-o-m and up 6.8% y-o-y. This is the first time since November last year that nuclear output has risen on an annual basis and it is the highest level since May 2017.
Nuclear power plants have been returning to the grid after scheduled maintenance and safety checks since November last year and are expected to gradually come back online during the second half of this year. This too should weigh on coal consumption.
Power generation from renewables, whose share of the generation mix the government plans to increase strongly in the years ahead, increased to 2.6TWh, up 5.2% m-o-m and up 20% y-o-y. Hydroelectric power generation also increased to 0.8TWh, up 10.3% m-o-m and up 26.8% y-o-y.
South Korea generated 331TWh of electricity over the Jan.-July period, up 4% y-o-y. Coal-fired generation fell to 138.3TWh, down 1.6% y-o-y, whereas gas-fired generation jumped to 93.1TWh over the same period, up 36.8% y-o-y, clearly indicating the policy shift in favour of gas.
Nuclear generation declined to 73TWh, down 19.2% y-o-y, due to maintenance and safety inspections at a number of plants.
Power generation from renewables jumped to 17.9TWh, up 20.6% y-o-y, over the period, while hydro generation increased to 4.2TWh, up 10.1% y-o-y.