Seoul launched its Energy Welfare Public-Private Partnership Program, a collaboration between local government and private actors, in order to reduce energy poverty and promote the saving and sharing of energy.

The Challenge

Seoul’s already vulnerable low-income families will become even more at risk of energy poverty as climate change accelerates. Through the Energy Welfare Public-Private Partnership Program, the city ensures that at-risk communities receive needed home energy efficiency upgrades and relevant job training and employment, while also securing an innovative and sustainable financing method to ensure the program succeeds in the long term.

The Solution

Launched in 2015, Seoul’s Energy Welfare Public-Private Partnership Program is helping to alleviate energy poverty among the city’s disadvantaged communities via a range of direct and indirect support. Direct support includes financing for low-income households to have their homes retrofitted for greater energy efficiency, and training and employing disadvantaged job seekers as energy consultants to assess energy performance of low-income households. Since 2015, the program has employed 180 of these consultants who offer energy-saving advice and tips, and carry out home energy retrofits. Many consultants build on this experience and continue their career in energy-welfare related fields. Indirect support from the program includes the creation of an innovative virtual power plant through which 17 municipal buildings and 16 universities save electricity consumption during peak hours and donate profits from saved power back to the program to finance energy welfare. Registered to sell 5 MW of electricity, this plant is the first of its kind in South Korea, and aims to create a sustainably financed method for alleviating energy poverty throughout the city.

Environmental Benefits – Around 1,600 micro-PV panels have been installed at public apartments and low-income houses in disadvantaged communities under the program.

Social Benefits – Fifty former energy consultants and energy social workers are continuing work in the industry, having founded eight cooperatives and four non-profit organizations.

Economic Benefits – The virtual power plant registered under the project has resulted in annual profits of more than $180,000 sent to the Seoul Energy Welfare Civic Fund.

About Cities100

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Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments. You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Social
Key Impact
1,300 households accessed financing for retrofits in 2015 via the energy welfare public-private partnership program
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