Cities account for more than 70 per cent of global energy use and for 40 to 50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide (Seto et al.,2014). Systemic inefficiencies in the energy consumption of cities have economic and social costs for both cities and countries and are a major barrier to universal access to modern energy. Cities and towns around the world are searching for alternative energy sources to fulfil their energy needs while being respectful with the environment. They are leading the energy transition by adopting policies and supporting projects that set the path towards a cleaner future.
In this context the Korean Ministry of Environment and the Korea Energy Economics Institute are working to expand the concept of ecoenergy town. Korea’s approach to Eco-energy towns aims to maximize the use of local resources to decrease energy dependence from fossil fuels, cut greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a local circular economy. The concept is based on the new paradigm of using unwanted public facilities including sewage treatment plants to generate energy, and returning the benefits to local residents. The country has already implemented the eco-energy town concept in the cities of Cheongju, Asan, Gyeongju, Yeongcheon and Yansan, and is exploring the possibility of replicating the concept internationally.
Modern district energy has been identified by UN Environment as one of the most effective technologies for many cities to transition to sustainable heating and cooling, by improving energy efficiency and enabling the use of waste energy and renewable resources. Through the development of district energy, cities are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, improving energy efficiency, reducing dependence from fossil fuels, using more local and renewable resources, and contributing to the transition to a green economy. Countries such as Denmark have made modern district energy the cornerstone of their energy policy to reach their goal of 100 per cent renewable energy
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