Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO)

InfluenceMap Score
D+
Performance Band
52%
Organisation Score
51%
Relationship Score
Sector:
Utilities
Head​quarters:
Naju, South Korea

Climate Policy Engagement Overview: Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) appears to be strategically engaging on a number of climate policy issues in South Korea. KEPCO has issued positive top-line statements regarding the need for climate action, but has opposed specific measures to transition Korea’s energy mix, including the South Korean government’s Carbon Neutral Scenario. KEPCO also appears to be less supportive of stronger ambition with regard to climate policies such as the Korean Emissions Trading Scheme (K-ETS).

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: KEPCO has expressed some support for climate action in its top-line messaging, but lacks detail regarding the level of ambition required on a global scale. In its 2021 Sustainability Report, published in November 2021, KEPCO appeared to broadly support South Korea’s 2050 carbon neutrality target, and to support the Paris Agreement. However, the company does not appear to explicitly support the broader need for government regulation to respond to climate change.

Engagement with Climate-related Regulations: KEPCO actively engages with climate policy in South Korea, with mixed positive and negative positions. In its 2021 Sustainability Report, published in November 2021, the company appeared to express support for South Korea’s 2030 National Determined Contribution (NDC), including increased greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets.

KEPCO stated support for increased public investments in renewable energy in its 2021 Sustainability Report. KEPCO subsidiaries Korea South-East Power, Korea Southern Power, and Korea Western Power all supported government policy and investments in renewable energy in their 2050 Carbon Neutrality Scenario consultation responses submitted in September 2021.

Korea South-East Power opposed the introduction of a South Korean carbon tax in its consultation response to the government’s 2050 Carbon Neutrality Scenario, stating that it would amount to a “double levy” when coupled with the Korea Emissions Trading Scheme (K-ETS). In the same consultation response, Korea South-East Power did not support increasing the ratio of paid allowances in the K-ETS to promote emissions reductions, arguing that this would “double the cost burden” for investment in the energy transition. The Hankyoreh reported in September 2020 that at a South Korean government hearing on the Phase Three allocation plan for the K-ETS, the company opposed to the proposed decrease in the number of free allowances for coal power generation, citing concern for the “burden of reduction costs.”

KEPCO stated support for the introduction of the Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) in Korea via its 2021 Sustainability Report. However, in its 2021 CDP Climate Change response, KEPCO proposed revisions to the EERS to “conserve costs” without giving further detail, making it unclear whether it would impact the overall ambition of the EERS negatively or positively.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Although KEPCO states top-line support for decarbonizing the energy sector, it also supports the continued role of coal and LNG in the energy mix, and has opposed the South Korean government’s 2050 coal phaseout target.

In its 2021 Sustainability Report, KEPCO appeared to support a transition to a carbon-neutral energy sector, although it did not specify the pace and extent of this transition. A KEPCO research report released in June 2021 recommended policies that strengthen the classification of clean hydrogen, and investment in green hydrogen as well as blue hydrogen on the condition that it is used with CCS technology. However, Straight News reported in July 2022 that Korea Western Power [1018744 appeared to advocated for hydrogen production through co-firing with fossil gas, without referencing the need for CCS or methane abatement measures.

In its September 2021 consultation response to the South Korean 2050 Carbon Neutrality Scenario, KEPCO subsidiary Korea Southern Power did not support the proposal to eliminate coal-fired power generation in Korea by 2050, stating that coal generators should be allowed to “operate after its design life by improving environmental facilities”. In Korea South-East Power’s submission to the same consultation, it appeared to support the inclusion of coal and LNG power plants with “environmental enhancement” as “green conversion industries” in the Korea Green Taxonomy (K-Taxonomy), without clear reference to emissions abatement measures. This position was echoed by Korea Western Power’s consultation response, which included support for hydrogen produced using coal gasification technology. In its September 2021 consultation response to the 2050 Carbon Neutrality Scenario, Korea Midland Power advocated for a transition away from coal that promoted LNG over other zero carbon options.

In an April 2022 report release by the KEPCO Management Research Institute, the company supported the co-firing of ammonia with coal while supporting the transition to 100% green ammonia by 2050. In an interview with Chosun Ilbo in March 2022, an official from KEPCO Electric Power Research Institute appeared to support the co-firing of ammonia and hydrogen with coal and LNG respectively, at a rate greater than the IPCC's predicted role for the fossil fuels by 2030.

Industry Association Governance: KEPCO has disclosed a list of its memberships to industry associations in its 2021 Sustainability Report, but with no further details of the company's role within each organization, nor its influence over their climate change policy positions. InfluenceMap has detected KEPCO’s memberships in the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI). EEI has directly advocated to preserve the role of fossil gas in the US energy mix. KCCI actively engages with climate policy in South Korea, and opposed the upward revision of Korea’s 2030 NDC GHG emissions reduction target. KEPCO has not published a review of its industry associations’ alignment on climate change policy.

Additional Note: The South Korean government owns 51.11% of KEPCO through direct and indirect stakes. It is likely that KEPCO retains channels of direct and private engagement with South Korean officials that InfluenceMap is unable to assess, and therefore are not represented in KEPCO’s engagement intensity metric. There is evidence that KEPCO is engaging with the South Korean government on several policy issues through its membership of several committees such as the Operating Committee of the Emissions Trading Market Council and the National Assembly Forum of Climate Change. However, InfluenceMap is not able to fully capture the content discussed in these forums with publicly available information.

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DATA SOURCES
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Strength of Relationship
STRONG
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
WEAK
 
50%
 
50%
 
36%
 
36%
 
43%
 
43%
 
50%
 
50%
 
57%
 
57%
 
82%
 
82%

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.