DAEGU, South Korea -- Daegu, the third largest city in South Korea, which is known for its great amount of sunshine, has set long-term plans to develop clean energy, especially solar energy.
The city, located in a basin surrounded by low mountains with a river flowing along its northern and eastern edges, has ambitious plans to become a model eco-friendly city for other cities in South Korea and the rest of the world.
To present Daegu as a model green city, a garden campaign was started in the 1990s. So far, over 10 million trees have been planted in city parks, and concrete walls have been replaced by tree walls. Daegu has also worked to develop green transportation.
The city, which has the nickname Colorful Daegu, actually highlights South Korea’s endeavors to develop strategically important renewable energy resources like other industrialized countries.
Daegu was selected for the development of the solar energy industry because the area is the warmest region in South Korea due to its humid subtropical climate.
The national government has designated the city of over 2.5 million people as the engine of green growth and funded research and development (R&D) projects there. Many companies active in the development of green industries are located in Daegu and the surrounding area.
Since 2001, the city has introduced eco-friendly green energy through the use of bioenergy, photovoltaic street lamps, small hydropower units, fuel cells, and geothermal heating and cooling. For example, a tower solar power system was completed in September 2011 and a hydrogen complex is scheduled to be completed this month.
Due to the implementation of these low-carbon plans, the city has been recognized as a solar city by the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) and the International Solar Cities Initiative (ISCI). The ISCI selected Daegu to host the First International Solar Cities Congress in 2004. And the city will host the World Energy Congress (WEC) in October.
Each year the city also hosts the Green Energy Expo, which is the largest renewable energy exhibition in Asia.
WEC division director Park Hee June told the Tehran Times that the national government has selected each province or area for the development of a particular industry, and Daegu was chosen for the development of solar technology because the area is sunny much of the year.
In addition, as part of the campaign to combat warming, millions of trees have been planted and walls have been removed in houses, schools, and public buildings, Park explained.
Park also said that clean energy consumption is currently 6.7 percent in Daegu compared to the national average of 2.74 percent. And the city plans to increase the consumption of clean energy to 10 percent by 2020, he added.
He went on to say that Daegu is helping 587 companies develop clean energy projects, especially solar energy project.
For example, Samsung, which was founded in Daegu, has implemented two projects for the construction of a plant that will manufacture LEDs (light emitting diodes) and a factory that will make lithium batteries, he stated.
Becoming a ‘smart solar city’
Daegu is set to become a “smart solar city” through the development of green energy projects, energy efficiency, and training eco-friendly citizens.
For instance, the city plans to expand the LED lighting program for public buildings, develop green homes, and implement an energy conservation program for a target group of residential buildings. It is also planning to build 1000-megawatt-scale renewable energy and energy storage systems.
The Daegu Solar Tower
The Daegu Solar Power Tower, located near the Seoul-Busan highway on a 23,000-square-meter parcel of land, is South Korea’s first solar power tower system. The system falls within the national plan to develop strategic technologies.
The solar tower, which is considered the city’s most important green project both in terms of the development of solar energy and research and development (R&D), was built by the Daesung Energy Company. The project began in December 2008 and was completed in September 2011.
Technically speaking, the system uses 450 heliostats (reflecting mirrors) to concentrate sunlight at the top of the tower. The solar receiver at the top produces the heat source of thermal energy, and with that energy, the electric power generating system produces 200 kilowatts of electricity.
Landfill turned into arboretum
In line with the plan to create an eco-friendly city, the Daegu Arboretum, which was the metro area’s first environmentally friendly ecological site, was built on a landfill in 2002.
From 1986 to 1990, about 4.1 million tons of waste was buried in the area. To turn the landfill into a clean and pleasant place, 1.5 million cubic meters of soil generated from construction sites, such as the Daegu subway, was transported to the landfill. The landfill was then covered with 6 to 7 meters of soil.
Now, the botanical urban garden contains a total of 1,750 species of plants in an area of 248,000 square meters.
It has different sections for wild flowers, flower trees, city trees, fruit trees, medicinal herbs, medicinal plants, non-indigenous plants, and other types of plants and trees. One section is called the bamboo forest, and there is another section for strange stones. In addition, there is a forest culture exhibition.
The arboretum also runs a number of educational programs, holds seasonal exhibitions, and has research programs for species preservation.
The arboretum, which is home to over 450,000 plants, has provided a blueprint for how a community can revive a dying ecosystem by effectively utilizing limited resources.
Native species preservation and plant research are done year-round through sharing seeds and plants with 130 botanical gardens in 28 countries.
Now the arboretum is a wonderful place for recreation, especially for people who love nature.
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