Seoul, August 30, 2011 — South Korean President Lee Myung-bak marked the start of operation at a tidal power plant in South Korea, calling it a "symbol" of his trademark "low-carbon, green growth" policy of seeking clean energy sources.
The tidal power plant at the artificial seawater Lake Shihwa on the west coast near Seoul began partial operation early this month after nearly seven years of construction. Six of the 10 generators have been running since August 3, and the others will go into operation in stages after test running.
If fully completed in December, the Shihwa station will be the biggest tidal power plant in the world with a generation capacity of 254 MW per day. The capacity of the Rance Tidal Power Station in France, currently the world's largest, is 240 MW per day.
The plant can provide enough electricity to a city with a population of 500,000.
Lee said that the plant will not only save South Korea more than 860,000 barrels of oil or $93 million a year but also reduce the emission of 320,000 tons of carbon dioxide, the main culprit of global warming.
Green growth has been one of Lee's trademark policies. It calls for lessening South Korea's dependence on fossil fuels and promoting the development of alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and other technologies that increase energy efficiency.