Illustrative image. (Photo: Yonhap)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Republic of Korea ranked fifth in per capita energy consumption among member states of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2016, the RoK-based news agency Yonhap reported on April 16.

Data recently released show that each Korean citizen consumed an average of 5.6 TOE (tonne of oil equivalent) during that year. The figure placed them after the people of Norway (9.2 TOE), Canada (9.1), the United States (7.1) and Australia (5.7).

The RoK ranked even higher at No. 2 in terms of their per capita consumption of coal, which reached 1.6 TOE, following Australia's 1.8, according to the figures provided by Statistics Korea and the local energy industry.

The latest measurement on coal consumption marks a 45.5 percent increase from 1.1 TOE 10 years ago, indicating that the Republic of Korea is going opposite the general trend among OECD members of curtailing use of coal as an energy source.

Energy industry officials say the RoK continues to rely heavily on coal for power generation. In 2016, the country used 77.61 million tonnes of free-burning coal to produce energy, accounting for 65 percent of the total coal consumed for the year.

Officials also point to low electricity prices compared to OECD states. The RoK’s cost of household electricity is 119 USD per megawatt-hour, lower than the OECD average of 184.60 USD. Such low prices encourage excessive use of power, which creates greater need for cheaper coal to produce electricity, they say.

"We need to overhaul the system of using low-cost energy sources first and make electricity prices more realistic in order to end such a negative cycle," a RoK official said.-VNA