South Korea

Korean Biomass Plaintiffs v. South Korea

Jurisdiction: Constitutional Court


Principle law(s): Act on the Promotion of the Development, Use and Diffusion of New and Renewable Energy


Side A: Korean Biomass Plaintiffs (Corporation)


Side B: South Korea (Government)


Core objectives:

Whether South Korea's subsidies to biomass generation violate the constitutional environmental rights of solar owners and nearby residents


Summary
On September 28, 2020, more than 60 solar power plant owners and residents near biomass plants sued the South Korean government in the South Korean Constitutional Court, challenging biomass subsidies on climate and pollution grounds. The plaintiffs allege that the South Korean New and Renewable Energy Promotion Act and regulations treat biomass generation as renewable and low or zero carbon, thus making it eligible for significant subsidies. According to the plaintiffs, however, biomass generation leads to forest devastation, higher CO2 emissions than coal, and local air pollution. As a result, South Korea's biomass policy violates South Korean constitutional environmental rights.

The plaintiffs also allege that Korean biomass policy infringes on the property rights of solar power plant owners and other renewable energy developers. They argue that the false classification of biomass burning as carbon neutral and renewable diverts subsidies away from other, truly carbon neutral resources.
Case documents

Related laws and policies
  • This law implements South Korea legislation
    Act on the Promotion of the Development, Use and Diffusion of New and Renewable Energy

    Passed in 2004 Legislative

    The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is to promote the diversification of energy sources through the promotion of technological development, use and distribution of new energy and renewable energy, and the activation of the new energy industry and the renewable energy industry. The Act allo...

from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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