|2008.11.10 15:58||2008.11.10 15:58 | Energy & Climate Change|
The Paths Buan has Taken
Located in the southwestern part of the Korean peninsula, Jeollabuk-Do's Buan-Gun is a county with a population of 65 thousand. This place is also renown for the Semanggeum project, the biggest land reclamation project in the world. This project has raised the controversial issue of development versus environment. Today, a 33km long sea dike, the longest in the world, stretches along the coast until the city of Gunsan.
Another incident in Buan has caught nationwide attention along with the Semangeum project. Many protested against constructing a nuclear waste disposal facility and this had become a hot topic of debate all over the country. The residents, not over 70 thousand, protested for 2 years; finally, on February 14th 2004, they were able to present local resident voters with a referendum on the matter. Lawyers, religious leaders, civil organizations nationwide helped in the process.
After the incident of the nuclear disposal facility swept across the local community, the residents of Buan were scarred by the severe conflicts among themselves. In addition, the already sour local economy fell into the pits because the residents had to abandoned their means of livlihood in order to participate in the protest. On the other hand, those responsible for the Buan incident, the national government or the mayor of the municipal government, are declining any explanation or showing any sign of regret regarding the issue.
Buan is changing. It is building a hopeful future slowly but steadily. The residents are taking the initiative to promote a campaign for the use of renewable energy after their demonstration against dumping nuclear waste. Community leaders raised the start-up money and the residents made investments in building a power plant. This is the first power plant ever in the country to be established by the local community; and even today, it is still in expansion. Every Year around 40 households participate in 'the installation of solar photovoltaic system in 100 thousand homes,' a government financed program. 402 farms, totaling to 728 ha, too part in a 'trial program to grow rape for the production of biodiesel.' This is also promoted by the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestries, and Fisheries. In the fall of 2007, rape seeds were sowed onto the fields for the very first time. At the time, even growing barely and wheat were difficult because of the high precipitation rate last fall; however, the residents followed through with the program enduring hardship all the while. In some areas, the geese fed onto the rape without leaving behind any leftovers; even worse, the farmers were unable to receive a single won from the government as compensation. Still, the farmers are preparing for the next sowing season. They have not yet lost their pride in producing environment friendly biodiesel.
Local community's profound interest and participation in renewable energy is the result of the late struggle in Buan. They attended various informative meetings; they cried out in ‘candle light' rallies, "change the government energy policy. Today, they are taking the initiative to practice a reformed energy policy of their own. Self-awareness gained from this experience or their democratic movements will not be lost or forgotten. They are just waiting for springtime when all things comes to life. Maybe the yellow flower has already blossomed within the resident's hearts only waiting for the right moment. Therefore, the region preparing for a energy self-sufficient village, the 'grassroots' level, is surely the hope for the future. This village is gradually finding a way into the future and Buan is leading the way.
Deungryong Village Declares Energy Self-Sufficiency
The town of Deungryong is located in Jangsin-Ri of Haseo-Myeon, a subdivision of North Jeolla Province's Buan County. This town is a typical agricultural village with about 30 households, totaling to a population of around 50. However, this rather ordinary town is actually special.
First of all, Buan Civil Power Plant started operating the 'Solar Powerplant-1,' a powerplant built in October 2005. By the winter of 2006, geothermal heating and cooling system, producing up to 35RT, was installed. This system provides air-conditioning to 4 buildings including residential households and the educational center. By 2008, the total electricity generated from solar energy reached 36kW in Deungryong; this is due to the local community's participation in a program to 'install photovoltaic panels on roofs of 100 thousand homes.' The civilian-funded 'Solar Power Plant,' steadily rising in number, contributed to total as well. This is just the beginning. The village of Deungryong continues to make small but meaningful steps toward energy self-sufficiency.
Deungryong village, which declared its energy self-sufficiency, places its emphasis on energy savings, energy efficiency, and transition to renewable energy. In order to reach these goals, it is aiming to cut more than 30% of its total energy use and replace 50% of its total energy use with the following renewable energy: solar energy, wind power, and biomass power.
What has happened in Deungryong Village this year?
Decreasing 10% of the Village's Total Energy Use
School of the Forest, the Wind, and the Sun
Starting from the summer of 2008, a school has opened its doors to those all over the country as well as those in Buan. This school provides a learning experience relating to renewable energy. It is the 'School of the Forest, the Wind, and the Sun.' The school has built a solar photovoltaic power generator and is equipped with a solar cooker; it makes use of wind and kinetic energy through generators powered by wind and bicycle pedalling; furthermore, it has installed a water turbine in addition to methane collection and flaring system. People take part in outdoor education programs related to the use of renewable energy. They experience on-hand the process of generating renewable energy and cook using this energy. Activities such as 'living without electricity,' using candlelight during the night, and 'watching movies with self-generated electricity' are available as well.
The Making of Generators Powered by Wind and Bicycle Pedaling
Korea can put a huge number of wind farms into use since the climate is windy from autumn to spring. Solar photovoltaic power generators require high level of technology, but anyone with a little knowledge of engineering can build a wind turbine. Generators powered by bicycle pedalling can overcome the weather restriction other renewable energy generators have. In order to make a small wind generator, we carved propellers out wood, wound the coils onto the magnet, and attached it to the generator. Producing up to 500W, generator powered by bicycle pedalling was constructed on our own. These generators we have made is installed in 'SiSu', a school of environmental studies in the Deungryong village; in return, this will help with Deungryong village's energy self-sufficiency and educating children about renewable energy.
Later on in the future, Buan Civil Power Plant is planning to recruit participants and hold a 'workshop for building wind turbines and generators powered by bicycle pedalling.' It is trying to allow residents easy access to various renewable energy by having households and ware houses installed with solar photovoltaic panels on their roofs. All this is to achieve the ultimate goal, energy self-sufficiency and energy-independence.
Making a 'Village Energy Map'
Making of the 'Village Energy Map' will be the first step in preparing for a self-sufficient village. First of all, we take a survey of the energy use in the village; then, we find renewable energy available in the area such as biodegradable waste or crops. This will lay the groundwork for an energy self-sufficient Deungryong village.
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