Finally, some good climate change news: your next vacation could be a huge step toward a greener future.
Located off the coast of South Korea, Jeju Island is known for its volcanic craters and picturesque beauty. But the island could also make headlines for one simple reason: Jeju wants to be carbon-free by 2030. It's a goal that could follow in the sustainability footsteps set in place by cities like San Francisco.
Jeju is using the nearby island of Gapado as its sustainability testing ground. Here’s how the island is finding ways to meet its sustainability goal.
Combating Climate Change With Island Energy
Gapado Island is home to about 177 residents, who already rely on solar and wind power for most of their electricity needs. Residents have also taken the following steps to reduce their carbon footprint:
- Replaced electricity poles with underground cables
- Installed wind power generators and solar panels on rooftops
- Continued travelling by foot or on bicycles
Gapado’s district office has worked with the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province on the island’s carbon neutrality goal for the past four years. In that time, Gapado has been able to pay off the cost of installing solar panels on the island.
According to Jin Myoung-hwan, the head of Gapado, most of the island’s energy needs are met by solar panels and wind power generators.
“Among the 97 households in Gapado, 48 of them installed solar generators," Myoung-hwan says. “As we have electricity generated from the wind and solar generators, we do not need to use diesel generators, relying completely on solar and wind power.”
A Model Of Sustainability
As Jeju’s testing grounds, Gapado Island represents a promising example of powering a region solely on renewable energy. Gapado’s energy needs will differ from the needs of Jeju Island as a whole — for instance, the island needs just two wind solar generators for its residents. But a successful model of carbon neutrality could create ripple effects that go far beyond Gapado.
Jeju’s governing body wants to roll out a series of phases in order to completely switch to carbon-free energy. Gapado is phase one of the project. The second phase is to “raise the share of new and renewable energy in the energy market to 50 percent by 2020.”
The third phase is to achieve a carbon-free Jeju Island by 2030. In 2015, the island partnered with LG Corp to complete this project, which is expected to cost $5.4 billion dollars.
How much would you love to visit a carbon-free island? Let us know in the comments!