Seoul is protecting low-income residents from the costly effects of climate change with an energy-saving partnership. The city helps universities conserve money on energy by combining to form a virtual power plant, then funnels those savings into an energy welfare fund that finances sustainable energy upgrades in poor communities. In addition to providing energy-efficient home improvements, Seoul will retrain unemployed low-income citizens as energy consultants.
Results & Impact
Seoul has built a virtual power plant bringing together 17 municipal buildings and 16 universities. Together they save $178,000 annually on energy. These funds have been used to retrofit more than 2,000 low-income homes with energy efficient windows, solar panels and light bulbs
The city of Seoul, universities
In a virtual power plant, a sprawling network of independent batteries, renewable energy sources – such as solar panels – and energy-efficient buildings are linked and remotely controlled by software and data systems. This collectively reduces customers’ energy demand from the grid at peak hours. Municipal buildings and private universities pledged to donate the money they saved to Seoul's Energy Welfare Civic Fund, which finances energy efficiency upgrades in low-income communities
Seoul, South Korea
Cost & Value
A virtual power plant helps municipal buildings and universities save $178,000 annually on energy consumption
Running since 2015
Seoul’s energy efficiency partnership helps universities save money on energy, then uses the funds to finance sustainable energy upgrades in low-income communities.
The Energy Welfare Public-Private Partnership Program was developed in 2015, after South Korean government research substantiated that disadvantaged communities are disproportionally threatened by climate change and rapid urbanisation.
Seoul built a virtual power plant, a system that integrates a variety of power sources that cut energy demand during peak business hours. The plant – the first of its kind in South Korea – helps 17 municipal buildings and 16 universities save $178,000 annually on energy consumption.
In a virtual power plant, a sprawling network of independent batteries, renewable energy sources – such as solar panels – and energy-efficient buildings are linked and remotely controlled by software and data systems. This collectively reduces customers’ energy demand from the grid at peak hours.
The buildings and universities have pledged to donate the profits from the energy savings to the Seoul Energy Welfare Civic Fund, which aims to end energy poverty by installing energy efficiency upgrades in low-income communities.
Using these funds, the city has retrofitted more than 2,000 low-income homes with LED light bulbs, energy efficient windows and solar panels – all of which help residents save money and help Seoul meet its ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. The city currently emits 50 million tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, and aims to cut emissions by 25% by 2020.
The Energy Welfare Civic Fund is also re-training the unemployed in poor communities for jobs as energy consultants, who will help carry out the Energy Welfare Public-Private Partnership Program’s work. So far, 180 jobs have been created.
The sustainable financing model ensures that the partnership’s welfare measures will continue to benefit the energy poor in the long term.
(Picture credit: Pixabay/TigerPal)