Hyundai Motor Co. will study alternatives to a gas-fired power plant for one of the world’s largest car factories after criticism that the decision goes against pledges to switch entirely to clean energy.
The South Korean automaker has indicated that it aims to build a liquefied natural gas facility to power the Ulsan plant, which can produce about 1.4 million vehicles annually and represents about a quarter of the company’s production.
The proposals came after the company said in April that four major units, including Hyundai Motor and Kia Corp. , will aim to transition to 100% renewable energy sources as soon as possible by 2040 and join the RE100 initiative, under which companies commit to ending the use of fossils. fuel.
Climate-focused campaign groups, including Greenpeace and Action Speaks above, argue that the LNG plant will not align with Hyundai’s declarations of climate action, and say there is a risk that the power plant will become a stranded asset due to fluctuations in gas prices and declines. The cost of renewable energy.
“Hyundai is fully committed to the goal of carbon neutrality and global sustainability goals,” the company said in an email response to questions. “We will review the plan and look to see if there are any viable alternative options.” Hyundai plans to eliminate emissions from its operations by 2045.
The company’s struggle to please climate-conscious investors and activists is another example of the difficulties faced by energy-hungry manufacturers in South Korea. Fossil fuels accounted for more than 60% of the country’s electricity generation in 2020, and major companies such as Samsung Electronics Co. Highlighting the challenges of transitioning to cleaner energy sources.
Floating solar panels made by Hanwha on Hapcheon Dam. (Photo: Bloomberg)
South Korea aims to eliminate emissions by mid-century, although it has struggled to ramp up its use of renewables due to a lack of space and an unfavorable environment for solar and wind power.
Hyundai has considered LNG to be less polluting than coal, and intends to study the potential for further emissions reductions by releasing natural gas with hydrogen, Kim Dong-wook, executive vice president of the company’s business coordination team, told reporters last week on the sidelines of the gas conference. World Cup 2022 in Daegu.
“It’s a question of whether we should continue to rely on the national grid, which relies heavily on coal, or provide our own electricity with the cleanest form of fossil fuel,” Kim said.
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