Notes de l'Ifri Asie Visions
Jae-Seung LEE, Jung-Min YU

The Economic Opportunities and Constraints of Green Growth - The Case of South Korea Asie.Visions 50, février 2012


The Green Growth Policy in South Korea has symbolized a paradigm shift to cope with climate change, fossil fuel depletion, and global economic recession. The emerging paradigm stands to create new engines for economic growth through green technology and clean energy. The government recently unveiled the Roadmap of Green Energy Strategy 2011 (2011-2030) that aims to position Korea as a world leader in the green energy industry. To this end, 15 green technologies were chosen as priorities for governmental support. A number of green growth policies, such as the emission trading system, the Green Homes Project and the Renewable Portfolio Standard, are expected to provide a stable framework for domestic market expansion. In addition, the government R&D investment plan is expected to play an important role in filling a technological gap between South Korea and leading countries in green energy.

The nation's well-developed industrial foundation in areas such as technology and infrastructure will be an advantage that can be easily applied to the green energy industry. Furthermore, the nation's advanced IT and electronic technology firms have entered the smart-grid business.

Based on strong political support and policy measures, South Korea's green growth policy has showed noticeable progress in a short period of time. However, the biggest challenges are technological dependency and growing competition in the global market. Also, the transition from a hydrocarbon-based economy to a renewable-based one could bear a huge economic and social cost. The speed of the transition, as well as a series of external variables - such as the global economic condition - will also affect the progress of green growth in South Korea.

The Economic Opportunities and Constraints of Green Growth - The Case of South Korea