Korea has witnessed a constant increase in the number of households connected to district heating and, as of 2013, 15% of citizens were served by district heating. As a result, the volume of heat sales to the residential sector increased by 37.5% between 2008 and 2013. The graph demonstrates the continued increase in growth in the residential sector, compared to the significant decline of heat sales to the industrial sector.
The Korean government set the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions as one of its goals, aiming to achieve a 30% reduction by 2020, compared to a business-as-usual scenario. It led to the creation in 2010 of an implementation plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which included the expansion of combined heat and power (CHP) plants. At present, 5% of total electricity production is generated through CHP and 67% of district heat is generated by CHP plants.
The use of district cooling in Korea has increased steadily over the period 2008 through to 2013, primarily due to the rapid increase of air-conditioning usage, achieving annual growth rates of 17.3%. The continued increase in demand, due to rising atmospheric temperatures and demand from office buildings, suggests estimates of a 124% increase in 2018 on 2013 levels. Furthermore, government aid is forecasted to continue in the future in order to meet this cooling expansion.