| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
1. Institutional reinforcements and infrastructure support.
The Korean government announced the official end of its Feed in Tariff (FIT) policy—used to promote new and renewable energy—in 2012. Picking up where the central government left off, Seoul introduced the Seoul FIT policy, under which public land in the city is offered at reasonable rents for the creation of new and renewable energy facilities. In particular, the rent amount is determined based on the amounts of eco-friendly energy such facilities generate on their own. Seoul also commissioned a survey on the conditions of building and residence rooftops in the city, which resulted in the Seoul Solar Map. This map provides information on the potential for solar energy use citywide, and in doing so encourages citizens to tap this valuable energy source. Along these lines, the city government also teamed up with the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education to expand the use of school rooftops and other facilities to achieve greater energy efficiency.
2. Architectural improvements.
In an attempt to provide a fundamental solution to the energy demand of large public buildings, Seoul reinforced its Green Building Design Criteria, applying the criteria in construction permit application reviews from 2013. In 2012, the city offered its first Building Retrofitting Program (BRP) loans for public and commercial buildings as well as for residences. The interest on BRP loans was lowered from 2.5 percent in 2012 to 2 percent in 2013, and again to 1.75 percent in 2014, while the ceiling on amortization was raised to KRW 2 billion.
3. Incentives for civic participation.
The Eco-Mileage Program provides incentives for citizens to make voluntary efforts to reduce power consumption. The Energy Guardian Angels and the Green Leaders also serve as energy conservation activists at schools and in neighborhoods. Citizens are invited to share their experiences in saving energy through various channels.
4. New analysis techniques and global research.
The city commissioned the Seoul Institute to measure the outcomes of the OLNPPP programs, specifically their energy-saving and greenhouse gas-reducing effects. For this a new method for analyzing such impacts was developed through cooperation with academia, the Korea Economics Institute, power plant companies, and the Climate and Energy Research Center. Moreover, separate research projects were carried out by various environmental research centers and universities to analyze global environmental trends in transportation, architecture, manufacturing, and power generation, and to survey existing policies to which Seoul might refer in implementing its own energy policy.
5. Reduced transport and energy demands.
Seoul’s energy-efficiency projects are expansive, covering many key areas. They include, for example, the provision of BRP loans for over 20,000 residences and buildings, the distribution of 6.79 million LED light bulbs, and insulation and remodeling works for low-income households. In an effort to encourage the use of public transportation, the city newly created transfer parking lots near subway and bus stations. Seoul also incorporated fuel efficiency into its performance evaluation criteria for intra-city bus carriers, a move to encourage them to adopt more fuel-efficient transport systems, and intra-city bus drivers are now trained on eco-friendly driving as well as on the use of fuel-efficiency devices. Large public and commercial buildings are now required to enforce No Driving Days, and are offered incentives to encourage them to do so such as discounts on traffic-inducing charges. The city also increased the number of median bus lanes and pedestrian streets so as to minimize traffic congestion and energy waste, and reduced operation of intra-city buses on weekends and holidays by 3 percent. As well, the owners of aged diesel cars are given car-scrapping subsidies to reduce fuel waste.
6. Push down energy consumption by 1.17 million TOE per year.
In 2012, the first year the OLNPPP was in effect, energy consumption was reduced by only 330,000 TOE due to the relative brevity of the projects implemented and the inadequacy of preparations. By 2013, however, the OLNPPP had reduced energy consumption by 920,000 TOE. Notably, Seoul residents consumed 380,000 TOE less than they did the previous year (2012), proving the plan’s effectiveness in lowering energy demand. In the first six months of 2014, the plan’s projects together cut energy consumption by 780,000 TOE, thereby helping Seoul to achieve its goal of reducing energy consumption by over 2 million TOE—the equivalent of one nuclear power plant—6 months ahead of schedule.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
1. Committee for One Less Nuclear Power Plant: Representing diverse perspectives.
The Committee for One Less Nuclear Power Plant is comprised of representatives from diverse fields and sectors of society, including environmental organizations, religious groups, economic and research institutions, academia, the arts, and media. LessThe committee held over 60 plenary and subcommittee meetings (together with the Executive Committee for One Less Nuclear Power Plant) from 2012 to 2014, at which OLNPPP projects were discussed in depth and at length.
2. OLNPPP Management Department within the city government.
Seoul established the OLNPPP Management Department, consisting of five members, to ensure the effective implementation of the plan, and organized the Citizens’ Task Force, made up of 10 public officials, to induce citizen cooperation and suggestions. Along with the Committee and the Executive Committee for One Less Nuclear Power Plant, these new government bodies analyze and monitor the progress of the plan’s projects, and provide other forms of support required to ensure their success.
3. Affiliated institutions and special purpose entities.
The OLNPPP is a multi-departmental initiative, involving all departments of the city government of Seoul, as well as the Seoul Metro (operating Subway Lines 1 through 4), the Seoul Agro-Fisheries and Food Corporation, 25 district offices of Seoul, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, and other public organizations. The city also established special purpose entities, such as the Korea Finance Corporation, to handle specific tasks, including the replacement of light bulbs in subway stations with LED bulbs. Moreover, Seoul enlisted the participation and counsel of almost 40 private and voluntary associations, including the Korea Photovoltaic Industry Association and Seoul Citizens’ Sunlight Power Stations. Moreover a public idea contest, centered on how to save energy, was held from 2012 to 2014, out of which 126 suggestions were translated into actual projects that are now being carried out by local religious organizations, universities, public libraries, and cooperatives.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
1. Financial resources: Minimizing the burden on the public.
From 2012 to June 2014, Seoul invested KRW 247.3 billion of its budget and public funds into OLNPPP projects, with the central government providing an additional KRW 48.7 billion. The private sector also made significant contributions, including KRW 63.5 billion for the creation of solar energy facilities and KRW 230 billion for the establishment of fuel-cell power plants. Mayoral prerogatives, such as the LED light bulb distribution project and the BRP loans, further elicited KRW 1.0362 trillion from the private sector, with the total amount of investments made in the first phase of the OLNPPP thus reaching KRW 1.3322 trillion. These investments induced KRW 2.6092 trillion in production-and created over 20,000 new jobs.
2. Technical resources: Specializing government departments and private-sector technological experts.
The OLNPPP led to the creation of the Climate and Environment Headquarters at the city government, which consists of some 200 public officials assigned to six new departments, including the Green Energy Division overseeing the production of new and renewable energy; and the Climate and Air Quality Management Division supervising the energy-saving target management scheme and the Eco-Mileage Program. Twenty-five district offices throughout Seoul launched their own OLNPPP teams to ensure effective implementation of local projects.
3. Human resources.
① Civic participation at the forefront of energy-saving efforts
Over 30,000 citizens and students volunteered as Energy Consultants, Energy Planners, Energy Guardian Angels, and Green Leaders to promote energy-saving efforts at schools, work, construction sites, homes, and the like. These volunteers actively shared information on energy-saving techniques and the importance cutting down energy consumption with the public, thus helping to eliminate various causes of energy waste in daily life.
② OLNPPP network, representing diverse perspectives and interests.
The Committee for One Less Nuclear Power Plant is made up of citizens and representatives from diverse fields (environmental groups, academia, media, religious groups, etc.). Headed by the Mayor of Seoul and chaired by two citizen representatives, the 19 members of the committee form a multilayered social network on energy saving, allowing for diverse insights on Seoul’s energy policy.
The Executive Committee for One Less Nuclear Power Plant, led jointly by the head of the Climate and Environment Headquarters and a citizen representative, includes 48 members divided into the four subcommittees of new and renewable energy production, energy efficiency, energy saving, and public communications. The executive committee monitors the progress of various OLNPPP projects and provides the required support and resources. With distinguished members from various research centers, corporations, and environmental groups, the executive committee plays a central role in developing and implementing Seoul’s energy policies that seek to reduce energy demand and confront climate change simultaneously.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Launched in May 2012, under the slogan, “New Energy Culture Led by Citizens, a Change for the Better in Seoul,” the OLNPPP achieved its original objective of reducing energy consumption by 2 million TOE well ahead of schedule. Based on the success of the first-phase projects, Seoul is now implementing the second-phase projects, under the slogan, “Seoul: the Capital of Energy Efficiency.” The main achievements of the first 2 years of the OLNPPP are summarized below.
1. Greater public awareness of the energy issue, and consolidation of energy-saving culture
The most significant result of the OLNPPP by far is that its projects have raised public awareness of the importance of energy conservation and environmental preservation, an awareness which has in turn made a substantial difference in citizens’ daily lives. The 1.68 million citizens who have taken part in the Eco-Mileage Program and the 50,000 or so Energy Guardian Angels and other volunteers have been indispensable in shaping and disseminating a new energy culture throughout Seoul. Because the price of electricity is quite low in Korea in comparison to other countries, few citizens until now have ever felt compelled to cut down on their energy spending. Thanks to the OLNPPP, however, an increasing number of citizens are coming to realize the danger and cost of nuclear power plants, a realization that has led to recognition of the vital importance of environmental sustainability achieved through wiser energy policies and practices.
2. Significant boost for new and renewable energy
Korea’s solar energy facilities together produced 22 megawatts of electricity per year for over a decade leading up to the introduction of the OLNPPP. Thanks to the new policy, however, Seoul’s solar energy facilities today produce 70 megawatts of electricity, and streetlamps in Seoul are now equipped with solar energy devices. The city has significantly expanded its new and renewable energy infrastructure as well, adding a new fuel-cell power plant capable of generating 40 megawatts of electricity as well as new small hydro power plants. Further, heat generated from wastewater treatment and urban waste incinerators is being reused in districts for heating residences and buildings.
The biogas generated in the treatment of sludge is refined and purified so that it can be reused as a fuel. Sludge from dehydrated human waste is sold to thermal plants as a new fuel. These new power plants and related facilities together help Seoul reproduce energy of up to 120,000 TOE a year from waste materials.
Seoul Metro, the Agro-Fisheries and Food Corporation, and other government-affiliated institutions have also begun to recycle waste energy to meet their energy demands, using, for example, ground heat to meet air conditioning and heating needs. The new energy initiatives in these public institutions have pushed down energy consumption by 260,000 TOE a year.
3. Institutional reforms and structural changes as energy solutions
Seoul introduced and reinforced Green Building Design Criteria, which obligates new large public and commercial buildings to adopt various energy-saving measures in their designs and construction, with the goal of reducing the energy demand of these buildings by 352,000 TOE a year. Seoul now also requires that existing buildings install better insulators and window frames to minimize energy and heat losses, and provides subsidies for repair and renovation of welfare facilities and low-income households for greater energy efficiency. The city, moreover, mandated energy assessments of 1,400 or so small buildings to identify and eliminate causes of energy waste.
The success of the energy-efficient LED light bulb distribution project can be attributed in large part to extensive investment and participation by the public sector. The project resulted in the replacement of 950,000 light bulbs throughout the city, including those in public buildings and on roads. The private sector matched this by replacing 5.84 million light bulbs with LED bulbs. The project on the whole has helped Seoul save energy in the amount of 199,000 TOE a year.
Seoul further reduced energy consumption by 123,000 TOE by promoting car sharing, banning the idling of car engines, providing car-scrapping subsidies for aged diesel cars, and distributing eco-driving devices. These institutional and fundamental changes have helped to create a new energy-efficient structure, which has helped to push down energy consumption in the city by 870,000 TOE a year.
4. Supporting daily energy-saving practices
The Eco-Mileage Program, intended to cut down energy consumption in households and small businesses by 5 percent, originally had 500,000 or so participants prior to the introduction of the OLNPPP. By June 2014, however, the number of participants had multiplied to 1.68 million, thus helping the city to reduce energy consumption by 450,000 TOE a year. Citizens also began to turn daily wastes—including cooking oil—into new sources of energy, thereby further saving 70,000 TOE. Keeping indoor temperatures at an even level further led to pushing down energy demand by 320,000 TOE. Moreover, 93 public organizations in Seoul have voluntarily adopted their own energy-saving goals and objectives, together saving 55,000 TOE a year. These daily practices help Seoul reduce energy consumption by 910,000 TOE a year.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
1. New energy analysis method
Seoul City enlisted the help of the Seoul Institute to monitor the progress of the OLNPPP, requesting the development of a new method for analyzing the energy-saving effects of the plan’s diverse projects. The new method involves converting the amount of energy produced and consumed per source—such as electricity, urban gas, and gasoline—into a common unit (i.e., TOE), and converting it again into the amount of greenhouse gas emissions reduced.
2. Advisory meetings for strategy and progress reviews
The city government’s Climate and Environment Headquarters held dozens of meetings in 2013, and 11 more until the end of June 2014, during which representatives of all six departments making up the headquarters partook in discussions and reviews of the projects thus far implemented.
Since its inception in April 2012, the Executive Committee for One Less Nuclear Power Plant alone has held 10 meetings for discussion on OLNPPP project strategies and new measures for energy saving. The opinions shared at the more than 50 meetings held by the executive committee and its subcommittees so far were shared with the public through debates and forums prior to being translated into actual policy measures.
A good example of a new program introduced thus is the Mini-Solar Energy Facility Distribution Project. The idea was first suggested in an executive committee meeting, and was developed into the current program after citizens voiced their suggestions on how to subsidize and install mini-solar energy facilities that could generate 250 watts of electricity each.
3. Local energy-saving projects
The OLNPPP also involves evaluating the energy-saving efforts of each of Seoul’s 25 districts, and awarding exemplary districts with incentives and grants. Seoul provides incentives for the creation of new and renewable energy facilities, including those for solar energy; distributes LED light bulbs and offers BRP loans and other measures for enhancing energy efficiency; and makes concerted efforts to increase the number of Eco-Mileage participants, etc., to reduce energy consumption. Districts that fare well on annual evaluations are each given up to KRW 500 million in incentives. Exemplary cases are also presented and shared at meetings of the vice-chiefs of the 25 districts.
The districts of Seongbuk-gu, Gangnam-gu, and others have significantly reduced their energy demands by installing LED bulbs in large public parking garages, saving more than KRW 150 million each per year in cost. Dobong-gu was also praised for the solar energy facility it installed on the walls of an old office building, an initiative that led other districts to install similar solar energy facilities in various public buildings, like school rooftops, thus promoting energy efficiency citywide.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
1. Population density, dried-up rivers, lack of awareness, and other obstacles
Seoul is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, with high-rise buildings occupying almost the entire city except for a few mountainous areas. As Seoul is surrounded by mountains on three sides except the western front, wind velocity is limited to 2.3 meters per second on average, making wind energy almost impossible. The concentration of residential and commercial buildings also forbids the creation of major solar energy facilities. Most rivers in the city, except for the Han River, run dry year round except in the monsoon season, making hydro power generation also unimaginable. The relatively cheap price of electricity in Korea, moreover, has delayed the development of effective new and renewable energy. And with the central government officially concluding its FIT policy in 2012, incentives for more sustainable energy initiatives had come to a halt.
2. Making use of available public land for small hydro power plants
Seoul sought to overcome its environmental obstacles by making the most use of available public land and buildings, including subway car garages, basic environmental facilities, and water purification centers, to install solar energy and fuel-cell power facilities. As the central government abolished its FIT program, which had been providing suppliers of new and renewable energy with financial assistance to compensate for their losses since October 2011, Seoul introduced its own FIT program, operated based on the city’s Climate Change Fund, to encourage power suppliers to develop and provide sustainable energy. The city, moreover, installed small hydro power plants at water purification and sewage treatment centers, thus overcoming the scarcity of local river resources with technical ingenuity.
3. Research and financial assistance to encourage building retrofitting
Developers and citizens were reluctant to participate in the BRP because of the high initial costs, with the cheap price of electricity making it difficult for investors to reap returns on their investment in the short term. Seoul confronted this challenge by providing BRP loans at favorable rates (now 1.75 percent per annum). The city also commissioned research projects on energy policies and technological trends worldwide, for the purpose of reforming and improving the BRP.
4. Lack of public awareness
As the busy citizens of Seoul had neither the time nor the desire to learn about the importance of energy efficiency and sustainable energy on their own, the city brought such information to them through the 50,000 volunteers who acted as Energy Consultants, Green Leaders, Energy Planners, and Energy Guardian Angels. Seoul also provided free energy assessments on small buildings that had no legal obligation to report the amounts of energy they consumed, thus encouraging the participation of owners and tenants in OLNPPP projects.