Energy supply in South Korea has been steadily increasing over the last decade. Nuclear energy is a significant contributor to the South Korean energy grid, accounting for nearly 60 percent of the total energy production of the country. However, the government decided to stop new nuclear plant construction and close two existing nuclear energy plants in Kori(Gori) and Wolsong after reconsidering the risks of nuclear energy. Additionally, the future energy policy is expected to replace 20 percent of the total generation by renewables by 2030.
Most of the total electricity was consumed in the industrial and building sectors. In the industrial sector, energy consumption surged, especially in the telecommunication and petrochemical sectors. In the building sector, power consumption increased due to climate change, such as cold winter and heatwaves during summer. In addition, the number of electric vehicles registered increased by 123 percent, leading to an increase in power consumption in the transportation sector. Household consumption growth is slowing down overall, however, energy consumption in the industrial sector is growing rapidly.
South Korea's energy resources are poor, consequently most of its energy depends on imports. As of 2015, the energy dependency amounted to over 80 percent of the total energy use. The net imports of energy and petroleum are the fifth largest in the world. In 2018, total crude oil imports reached 1,116,281 thousand barrels, showing a slight decrease from the previous year. The share of crude oil imported from the Middle East accounted for about 73.6 percent of total oil imports. Leading origins of crude oil imports were in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq, and imports from the United States increased by 353 percent in 2018.