Taean power station

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Taean power station (태안화력) is a 6,100-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea.


The undated satellite photo below shows the Taean power station, which is located in Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea, 100 km southwest of Seoul.

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In addition, a 300 MW IGCC plant is located at the site. The plant is one of the top ten largest coal plants in the world.

The power station originally consisted of eight 500 MW units built from 1995-2007.[1] The 4,000 MW plant provides power to the South Korean capital and the surrounding regions and is located in Taeangun, Chungcheongnam-do, about 100km southwest of Seoul.[2]

According to the country's 8th Basic Plan for Long-Term Electricity Supply and Demand (2017-2031), finalized in December 2017, Taean power station Units 1-2 were proposed to be converted to burn gas instead. The date of the proposed conversion was not listed.[3][4]

However, in the 9th Basic Plan released in 2020, a schedule was set to replace coal units 1-6 with LNG plants from 2025-2032.[5] In September 2022, the Chungcheongnam-do Council Chairman, while advocating for the Taean power station's early closure, pointed out that replacement LNG plants would be located in different regions and would not provide replacement employment for power station workers.[6]

Coal Expansion

Units 9 and 10 of 1,050 MW each (2,100 MW total) were scheduled for completion in 2016.[7]

The new units were delayed due to accidents and defects. Before the completion of the project, the third stage of the turbine, which is the core cycle, was damaged and a fire occurred, delaying commissioning. Unit 9 was eventually completed in 2016,[8] and Unit 10 was completed in 2017.[9][10][11]

Financing for Units 9 and 10

The project was financed through bonds from the following entities: National Pension Service (US$256,110,465), NH Investment Securities (US$137,215,245), Korea Post (US$18,295,366), and IBK Affiliates (US$54,883,766).[12]

Taean IGCC Project

The Taean IGCC Project is the first commercial integrated gasification combined cycle project to be built in South Korea. The project will produce syngas from low-BTU coal; the syngas will then be burned to generate electricity. As of 2014, the project was under construction and slated for start-up in late 2015.[13][14]

The IGCC plant is being considered for retrofit with carbon capture and storage technology by 2020, known as Korea-CCS2.[15]

On August 19, 2016, KEPCO announced the IGCC plant had begun operation.[16]

In January 2023, an explosion occurred at the IGCC unit, which caused a fire that lasted several hours.[17]


The power station has faced intense opposition over the years. For example, in November 2021, a new coal ash waste deal triggered protests by environmental groups including the Ando Lighthouse Keeper, the Coastal Beach Keeper of Korea, and the Green National Alliance Taean-gun Branch. Demonstrations included various slogans and banners, such as 'Taean Thermal Power should immediately stop shipping coal waste (reclaimed ash)' and 'Did Taean Thermal Power forget the sinking of a coal waste carrier that ruined the Taean Sea?' In October 2019, the Moasun No. 12001 barge carrying more than 6,000 tons of coal ash sank near Geunheung-myeon, Taean-gun.[18][19] The site has been associated with various environmental act violations.[20]

Opposition also exists against an 'un-just' energy transition. In April 2022, workers from the Taean plant supported the formation of the Climate Justice Alliance for System Transformation, which focuses on the social equity components of South Korea's coal phase-out. The alliance noted that skilled coal workers were being laid off in large numbers and that there must be solidarity among these people while the transition to renewable energy takes place.[21]

Criminal Charges after Worker Death

In December 2018, a fatal accident occurred at the plant when a nightshift worker got caught in the machinery while inspecting a coal conveyor belt for Units 9 and 10 of the power station. According to reports, other employees of the plant stated: "the cause of Kim’s death was the fact that... Korea Western Power had given the job to a subcontractor that bid too low to allow their employees to work in pairs."[22]

In February 2022, the Daejeon District Court ruled that subcontractors had violated safety management duties, and the former CEO of Korea Development Technology was sentenced to one year and six months in prison and two years of probation. Seven executives and employees of Korea Western Power were sentenced to two years of probation, but the then-president of Korea Western Power was acquitted.[23]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Korean Western Power Co Ltd (KOWEPO)
  • Parent: Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO)
  • Location: Banggal-ri, Wonbuk-myeon, Taean-gun, Chuncheongnam-do
  • Coordinates: 36.9055681, 126.2346268 (exact)
  • Status: Units 1-10: Operating; IGCC Project: Operating
  • Gross generating capacity (announced): 3,000 MW[5]
    • Unit 1: LNG-fired, 500MW (start-up in 2025)
    • Unit 2: LNG-fired, 500MW (start-up in 2025)
    • Unit 3: LNG-fired, 500MW (start-up in 2028)
    • Unit 4: LNG-fired, 500MW (start-up in 2029)
    • Unit 5: LNG-fired, 500MW (start-up in 2032)
    • Unit 6: LNG-fired, 500MW (start-up in 2032)
  • Gross generating capacity (operating): 6,466 MW[24]
    • Units 1-8: Coal-fired, 500 MW
    • Units 9-10: Coal-fired, 1,050 MW
    • IGCC Project: 346 MW[25]
  • Type: Units 9 and 10: Ultra-supercritical; IGCC Project: Integrated gasification combined cycle
  • Projected in service: Unit 9: 2016; Unit 10: 2017; IGCC Project: 2016
  • Coal Type: Bituminous[26]
  • Coal Source:
  • Source of financing: Units 9 and 10: National Pension Service (US$256,110,465), NH Investment Securities (US$137,215,245), Korea Post (US$18,295,366), and IBK Affiliates (US$54,883,766)[12]
  • Planned Coal Unit Retirements: Units 1 & 2 are scheduled to close by 2025; Unit 3 by 2028; Unit 4 by 2029; Units 5 & 6 by 2032; Units 7 & 8 by 2037; Unit 9 by 2046.[27]

Articles and resources


  1. "Taean power station," GEO, accessed August 2015
  2. "Hitachi wins order," Hitachi press release, February 28, 2012
  3. "S. Korea to shift toward renewable energy, natural gas," Yonhap News Agency, December 14, 2017
  4. "Ministry announces 8th Basic Plan for Electricity Supply and Demand," Korea Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy, December 14, 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 The 9th Basic Plan for Electricity Supply and Demand (2020 - 2034), South Korea Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, December 28, 2020
  6. 윤희신 충남도의원, 태안화력발전소 폐쇄 대책 마련 촉구, 뉴스티앤티, September 15, 2022
  7. "Emerson awarded $11 million contract to automate two 1,050-megawatt ultra-supercritical units at South Korea power plant," Emerson News Release, November 13, 2013
  8. "국내 최대 석탄발전기 가동 초읽기," Naeil, October 27, 2016
  9. "건설中 원전·석탄발전, 차기 정권에서 운명은?," EBN, May 6, 2017
  10. "[논평노후 석탄발전소 가동중단에 따른 미세먼지 저감 효과,"] kfem.or.kr, July 25, 2017
  11. "Unit 10 of Taean Thermal Power Plant Starts Power Generation," Daelim, February 27, 2017
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Financing Dirty Energy: How Korean Public Financial Institutions Support Coal Power". Solutions for Our Climate. January 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. "Gasification Users Association: Technology Status - December 2013," EPRI, February 27, 2014
  14. Jeff Phillips, "Update on Gasification Projects and Technology," EPRI, December 12, 2013
  15. "Korea-CCS 2," Global CCS Institute, July 14, 2014
  16. "Korea Western Power Begins Commercial Operation of Taean IGCC Power Plant," Business Korea, August 23, 2016
  17. "태안화력 폭발 화재, 1시간여 만에 불길 잡아…인명피해 없어," The Hankyoreh, January 8, 2023
  18. “태안화력, 석탄 폐기물 해상운송 용역 발주 논란,” ohmynews, November 3, 2021
  19. "한국서부발전, 석탄재 해상운송 용역 중단해야," ohmynews, November 5, 2021
  20. “충남 태안화력발전소 방류구 배관서 '기름 유출 흔적' 발견” newstnt, May 5, 2021
  21. “태안화력 단계적 폐쇄 수순...일자리가 사라진다” Taean News, May 13, 2022
  22. “기계에 끼어 사망한 24살 비정규직 노동자 4시간 방치” The Hankyoreh, December 11, 2018
  23. “‘김용균 사망’ 태안화력 임직원 집행유예… 서부발전 대표는 무죄” The Chosun Ilbo, February 10, 2022
  24. “태안발전본부,” KOWEPO, accessed November 2021
  25. “Power Generation,” KOWEPO, accessed November 2021
  26. "Coal-fired Plants in South Korea," Power Plants Around the World, accessed January 2017
  27. "Assessing the Health Benefits of a Paris-Aligned Coal Phase Out for South Korea," Annex II (Unit-level phase out schedules), Climate Analytics, May 2021

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