S. Korea to Spend $36 Billion on Clean Energy by 2015

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-biggest polluter, said the government and private sector aim to invest 40 trillion won ($36 billion) by 2015 in renewable energy to gain from growing demand and cut reliance on fossil fuels.

The government will spend 7 trillion won and private companies may invest 33 trillion won during the next five years, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, which overseas South Korea’s energy policies, said in an e-mailed statement today.

The spending plan includes the 22.4 trillion won that the presidential office said in July the nation’s 30 largest industrial groups will invest in alternative energy by 2013. The global renewable energy market may more than double to $400 billion by 2015 and grow to $1 trillion by 2020, similar to the automobile industry, according to South Korea’s energy ministry.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy, which heavily depends on computer chips and shipbuilding, aims to secure a 15 percent share of the global solar and wind power market to provide new sources of growth, the knowledge ministry said. The investment will create 110,000 jobs and $36.2 billion in exports, it said in the statement.

The government, which invested 2 trillion won in the past three years, will spend 3 trillion won in developing solar and wind power technologies by 2015. It will also spend 9 trillion won by 2019 building an offshore wind farm with capacity of 2.5 gigawatts, the ministry said.

China, Japan and India have larger economies and emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming than South Korea.