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[Editorial] Alternative Energy Development

Posted April. 24, 2009 03:25,   


U.S. President Barack Obama declared yesterday on Earth Day that he will aggressively develop alternative energy sources such as wind and tides. “So on this Earth Day, it is time for us to lay a new foundation for economic growth by beginning a new era of energy exploration in America," he said at the Newton Wind Turbine Plant in Iowa. If the United States takes full use of wind power’s potential, he said, wind can provide as much as 20 percent of U.S. energy demand and create 250,000 jobs by 2030. He means he will save both the U.S. environment and economy at the same time by investing in new energy resources early.

Developed countries are competing for a Green New Deal. The U.S. government has announced plans to invest 150 billion dollars in clean energy development over the next decade. The United Kingdom will inject 10 billion pounds into green growth by 2020. If the United States, which has been passive in regulating CO2 emissions, starts alternative energy development, global pressure on greenhouse gas regulation will increase. If Korea fails to prepare for this through the aggressive development of alternative energy sources, it will lag behind new engines of economic growth.

Korea announced its own Green New Deal of investing in environment-friendly infrastructure and the green industry earlier this year. An investment of 50.5 trillion won (37.3 billion dollars) will go into environment-friendly projects over the next four years to create 956,000 jobs. Projects like the renovation and cleanup of the country’s four major rivers, creation of green forests, and increasing the “green traffic network” are likely to create many jobs. The government plans to invest 250 billion won (185 million dollars) combined with the private sector in new energy development such as photovoltaic and wind power over the next three years. Relatively less attention is paid to these projects, however, and they have less momentum.

For alternative energy development to be successful, the projects must have substance and consistent investment. A big project without sufficient technology will end up as a white elephant. The wind power industry offers a promising future for exports. When it comes to wind power generation facilities, globally competitive parts companies will have a competitive edge.

Substantial deregulation is needed to let private capital flow into alternative energy development. Nothing will be better than attracting 800 trillion won (594.3 billion dollars) into the market to foster new growth industries. Immediate restructuring is needed to stop money from flowing into uncompetitive sectors. Entrepreneurship that can attract new investment in alternative energy is more important than ever.