South Korea, the world's second-largest buyer of liquefied-natural-gas after Japan and fifth leading oil importer, plans to increase investment in renewable resources by 24% this year, to 1 trillion won (US$890 million) from 808.4 billion won last year, according to an e-mailed statement issued by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (this past October, the South Korean government said it would inject some $35 billion into the public and private sectors by 2015 to boost renewables).
The government's infusion of cash into clean energy projects and financing will be used for testing and development of solar and wind power facilities, in an effort to beef up the energy industry and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Asia's fourth-largest economy and one of the fastest-growing polluters on the planet, South Korea has redoubled its efforts to transition away from its heavy reliance on fossil fuels by increasing spending on green energy. Korean companies, meanwhile, have stepped up renewable projects and overseas acquisitions of both cleantech companies and conventional gas and oil producers to meet ever-rising energy demand.
South Korea also plans to raise energy-related loan guarantees and extend financial incentives and tax benefits to companies pursing international energy development projects.
While the state-run Korean National Oil Corporation (KNOC) is pouring billions into increasing its crude-oil and natural-gas production capacity—by purchasing foreign assets and expanding exploration activities—public multinationals like Samsung are establishing a foothold in green-friendly places like Ontario, Canada.
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