Discontent among residents living near Baekdudaegan – the mountain range that snakes through the heart of the Korean peninsula – is on the rise concerning the growing presence of wind turbines in the area.
Approximately 40 percent of the nation’s wind energy production is generated from the east and southeastern regions. As of February, 26.9 percent of the nation’s 939,126 MW produced were from plants located in Gangwon Province. The remainder of the 40 percent is generated by wind turbines located in North Gyeongsang Province.
Going forward, wind energy production from the are is expected to rise, as 119 turbines at 11 plants are currently under construction in Taebaek, Gangwon Province.
Accompanying the rise in renewable energy production are fears of a growing backlash by disgruntled residents and disputes over the use of land in the mountains.
At a symposium held on November 28 to discuss the various aspects of wind power plants throughout these regions, professor Song Woo-chang of Kangwon National University identified finding a means for locals to profit from the wind power plants, developing a framework for small-scale plants to be built throughout the region, and further improvement of offshore wind power technology as measures necessary to accomplish continual expansion of the renewable energy sector, while at the same time maintaining environmental preservation.
A member of the environmental organization Green Korea pointed to the twin factors of administrative negligence and excessive profit-seeking behaviors as the reasons for the divide between the local populace and investors in the power plants. The marriage of business and government was guilty of disregarding the interests and needs of the residents, with a focus only on sustained expansion, the member criticized.
Members of Green Korea at the symposium attested that wind power plants had become “abhorrent facilities” in the eyes of locals.