Case of the month - Seoul



Seoul’s One Less Nuclear Power Plant initiative



Seoul Metropolitan Government

Launched in 2012 
Territorial scope

Target buildings  




Public buildings

 New buildings    

Private buildings
 Existing buildings
 Industrial, services, etc.

Main Targets 



  • Reduce the equivalent of 2.000.000 toe (tons of oil equivalent) in energy demand by promoting energy conservation and production from new and renewable sources;
  • Reduce 6.060.000 tCO2e of GHG emissions;
  • Replace 14.660.000 barrels of imported oil that worth €1139496434.50 ( 1.73 trillion KRW);
  • Create 34.000 new green jobs;
  • Attain the Seoul’s power self-sufficiency rate at 8% by 2014 and surge up to 20% by 2020.



The One Less Nuclear Power Plant is the most recent energy policy initiative of Seoul Metropolitan Government. It is a multi–faceted and a large-scale approach initiative, consisting of 78 specific projects in several policy categories - expansion of new and renewable energy, buildings retrofitting, green and efficient transportation system, green job creation, urban redesign into a low–energy city, and low–energy citizen lifestyle – that were classified in 10 key action plans.

It will bring a groundbreaking change to Seoul’s energy consumption paradigm and manage a successful cooperation with citizen’s reflections and opinions.

Since the initiative was launched in 2012, improvements have already been observed, including a saving of 330.000 TOE of energy.

The initiative development context

With Seoul’s temperature rising at a faster rate than the global average, a power consumption accounts for 10.9% (2011) of the national total consumption and the continued rise of global oil prices sets the current energy market, a new paradigm of energy policy clearly become urgent and essential to ensure Seoul as a global climate and environment capital city.

The poor rate (2.8%) of city’s power self-sufficiency, the reduced energy consumption (1.5%) from new and renewable sources, and the city’s desire to reduce their dependency on nuclear power, reinforce the city’s commitment to promote sustainable and eco-friendly energy sources.

At the same time, in the wake of the tragic accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in March 2011, and the large scale blackout occurred in Seoul in September 2011, there has been a growing public concern over the safety of nuclear power, and a social consensus has been formed on the necessity for a reduction in energy consumption and the importance of producing sustainable, environment friendly sources of natural energy.

The design and establishment of the One Less Nuclear Power Plant initiative became an effective slogan to demonstrate the city’s ambition to undergo a drastic change on the city’s energy consumption, and to turn Seoul into a global climate and environment capital city.

A multi-faceted and a large-scale initiative

To realize the main initiative goals of raising the city’s electricity self-sufficiency rate and to save 2 million TOE (tons of oil equivalent) of energy by 2014, the referred multi-faceted approach composed by 78 specific projects in six policy categories lead the random selection of 10 key action plans:


  1. Sunlight city – Make Seoul a city of sunlight where the entire city is a PV plant (320 MW) that will produce clean energy infinitely;
  2. Energy self-supply of core facilities – Ensure energy self-sufficiency of core facilities by fuel cells (230 MW). Seoul city builds hydrogen fuel cell stations and small scale hydro plants for a stable power supply;
  3. Building retrofit program – Improvement of 12.200 buildings including high-energy-consuming buildings, mid-to-large-sized buildings, individual houses, office buildings, public rental houses, municipal welfare facilities and schools;
  4. City of Smart Lights – Replacement of lighting devices in public offices, street furniture, subway stations, underground shopping centers, large office buildings, department stores and other multi-use facilities with 8 million highly energy-efficient LEDs units;
  5. Launch of a “2030 City Master Plan” with a vision focused on low-energy-consuming compact city – Introduction of an “energy consumption cap” comprised in a new urban management system for the process of conceiving and evaluating urban development and regeneration plans;
  6. Reinforce design standards for new buildings by introducing energy cap and other measures – Establish stricter building design standards for new buildings that are required to introduce the “energy consumption cap” and follow the green building design guidelines;
  7. Car-sharing – Expansion of the car-sharing scheme to achieve 150.000 memberships for car-sharing scheme;
  8. Green job creation – Creation of 40.000 green jobs in green industries, including new and renewable energy industry;
  9. Energy-saving citizen lifestyle – Creation of a set of citizen’s initiatives - citizen commission and executive committee, eco-mileage program, and the energy guardian angels corps - to conduct and expand the energy saving movement among citizens in neighborhood, at home and schools;
  10. Seoul natural energy foundation – establish and operate an energy foundation that will act as the epicenter of the campaign, lead the energy policy shift and implement the projects in a more organized way.


Pilot citizen’s empowerment

The initiative collected a huge support of public participation, counting more than 20 events to listen to the opinions of the city citizens’ groups and various organizations.

On the first year of the campaign, citizens of various backgrounds (companies, civil society groups, schools, universities, etc) joined forces to create a citizen’s commission and executive committee for the One Less Nuclear Power Plant campaign composed of 47 advisors and experts, to support the several individual projects, and also to play a key role in strength the Seoul citizen’s power.