Seoul is committed to implementing programmes to prepare for the effects of climate change and reduce risks which disproportionally threaten low-income families, all the while adapting to rapid urbanisation and economic growth. The Energy Welfare Public Private Partnership Programme aims to contribute to the city’s targets on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction while simultaneously reducing energy consumption and spending for low-income families.
In 2015, Seoul financed energy retrofits for 1,295 households and aims to finance a further 1,050 households in 2016. In collaboration with business and civic groups, 2,400 conventional lightbulbs in low-income houses, markets and child care centres, were replaced with LED bulbs. The city government installed approximately 1,600 micro- photovoltaic (PV) panels at public apartments and low-income households in underdeveloped communities. It also provided 10,000 sets of clothing and 200 indoor tents as part of its efforts to reduce climate risks facing the poor.
Seoul is the first South Korean city to register a virtual power plant to sell 5MW of electricity saved by 17 municipal buildings and institutions. Annual profits of around $178,000 are sent into the Seoul Energy Welfare Civic Fund for expansion of its energy-welfare programmes.
The city has installed PV power panels at around 1,600 public apartments and low-income households, reducing their fuel spending. Additionally, recipients of 2,400 LED-bulb replacements saw their energy consumption and associated costs fall. The Seoul Energy Welfare Civic Fund, designed to combat energy poverty, has raised $500,810 of monetary and in-kind contributions from 34 businesses and 1,800 citizens. 17 public buildings and 16 universities pledged to donate profits earned from the electricity they saved- 5MW each- to improve energy welfare.
The employment of disadvantaged citizens has increased income growth among the poorer population. Seoul has recruited 180 underprivileged job seekers as energy consultants and welfare workers, responsible for conducting assessments of residential environments, energy welfare support and, retrofitting homes for higher energy efficiency.
The overarching aim of Seoul’s Energy Welfare PPP Programme is to reduce climate risks threatening low-income families through implementation of the most effective and efficient energy welfare policies. Seoul’s efforts are expected to protect the poorest residents from the effects of climate change and lead to a fairer and more sustainable society.
Installation of solar PV panels and deployment of LED bulbs at houses will help reduce the energy spending for low-income families. By engaging potential beneficiaries of support, Seoul seeks to reap co-benefits from income growth of the participating low-income families and job creation. Furthermore, the city seeks to improve social equality by reinvesting profits earned from its energy-welfare projects into additional efforts to support the energy poor.