The Strategist

South Korea's economy shaken by heatwave

07/22/2021 - 03:19

The extreme heat and outages at nuclear power plants promise huge losses for South Korea's economy. To avoid overloads in the energy system, the country's authorities are urging citizens and the industrial sector to reduce electricity consumption and stop using air conditioners, Bloomberg wrote.

Free Images
Free Images
The Korean meteorological administration warned that the air will get as hot as 38 degrees Celsius in some regions because of coming anticyclones - areas of high pressure that cover certain areas and keep out heat.

The Korea Power Exchange agency estimates that the power reserve (the difference between expected peak demand and the amount of power that operating power plants can produce) will fall below 2018 levels, when the country experienced its worst heatwave in 111 years.

According to South Korea's Energy Minister Moon Sung-wook, the prolonged heatwave could boost demand for electricity at any time. And while the current supply is not a hundred per cent threatened by a power outage, the official called for extreme caution in ensuring energy stability to avoid a disaster due to system overstress.

According to Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co, nuclear power plants account for about 30 per cent of all power generation in South Korea, but now produce 70 per cent less than usual. Two nuclear reactors suddenly stopped due to a mechanical failure, leaving 7 of the country's 24 power units under repair.

The power outage could slow the recovery of South Korea's economy as it relies heavily on energy-intensive industries - semiconductor manufacturing, petrochemicals and steel.