I remember winter of 2002. When I was studying in Texas, USA, it snowed in Austin. It wasn’t even a lot of snow. However, the city was on the verge of paralysis. The school is closed. It was hard to find cars on the road. Occasionally, only cars that slipped on one side of the road stood out. I thought it would be worth it because it’s been 5 years’ time. In Texas, temperatures seldom drop below freezing even in midwinter.
That place fell below -20 degrees last week. Power generation facilities froze in a record cold wave, cutting power to 4.3 million households. Some people lighted candles, burned firewood, and even brought in heat from car heaters to warm the house.
The abnormal cold wave occurred when a cold, dry, whirlpool trapped in a jet stream pushed down to the southern tip of the US mainland. No matter how cold it is, I wonder if the power system in Texas, called the’energy kingdom’, is so lax. Some point out that the problem was the system left only to the private sector. The Texas power grid is run by the Electrical Reliability Commission (ERCOT), a non-profit company. Electricity is purchased from several private power companies. It is a competition system. Thanks to this, consumers use electricity at a low price. Instead, power generation companies only make necessary investments to make money. In general, winter is warm, but he does not have to spend money on gas pipes or wind turbines that endure cold weather. In Korea, where the government establishes a basic power plan to manage supply and demand, and decides on the construction of power generation facilities, the Texas system and its loopholes are unfamiliar with the turmoil.
Nevertheless, there is a side that doesn’t seem like a neighborhood other than the Texas disaster. First of all, it is an abnormal climate that becomes frequent. It is said that the weakening of the jet stream, which is the cause of this cold wave, is due to warming in the polar regions. Regarding global warming, consensus is spreading for joint responses to major countries. The Korean European Union (EU) has declared that Japan will realize’carbon neutrality’ by 2050 and China before 2060. U.S. President Joe Biden has also pledged carbon neutrality in 2050. Companies are already making efforts to reduce carbon emissions in terms of survival. If it doesn’t change, you won’t be able to sell things to the US or Europe in the future. ESG (environment, society, governance) has become an indispensable element in corporate management strategy.
Declaration of Goals The following is a practical methodology. In Korea, the controversy over the post-nuclear power issue in energy policy continues. Last week, when the founder of Microsoft (MS) Bill Gates published a book entitled “How to Avoid Climate Disaster” and mentioned the necessity of nuclear power as one of the clean energy sources, a debate arose over the’reality’ of this claim even before the mayor of Seoul. lost.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is based on digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data, cannot be considered except for’electricity’. The supply of electric vehicles to replace fossil fuels also raises electricity demand. Bill Gates predicts that the world’s electricity use will be 2.5 times higher than it is now, only for carbon neutrality.
In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the proportion of coal-fired power generation over 40% must be lowered first. However, it is questionable whether it will be able to meet the demand for electricity while even eliminating nuclear power. As some argue, the Texas nightmare is not just due to wind power, but it is true that renewable energy such as wind and solar is sensitive to the weather and poor supply stability. The cost is a problem to supplement with liquefied natural gas (LNG) power generation. Carbon neutrality should not make the energy cost so high that industrial competitiveness is lowered.
Can ‘2050 carbon neutrality’ and a nuclear power plant policy be parallel? If the government really believes that way, it should be able to persuade the people who think it contradicts in common sense. The government said that it plans to establish a more elaborate’scenario’ by June this year following the’Carbon Neutral Realization Strategy’ announced in December last year. I hope there is something convincing here.
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