South Korea’s move to shut coal-fired generators to control air pollution at the same time as nuclear reactors are going into scheduled maintenance is resulting in surging fuel oil imports, as utilities burn the dirty feedstock to meet power demand.
South Korea’s trade ministry said in February it would suspend five coal-fired power plants, with a combined capacity of 2.32 gigawatts (GW), from March to June, part of a broad campaign to reduce pollution.
That plan may backfire, at least in the short-term. A cold winter has raised power and heating demand, forcing utilities to burn more fuel oil in order to meet demand.
A by-product of the crude oil refining process, fuel oil’s biggest use ahead of power generation is as a shipping fuel. Read More…