On September 28, 2020, a group of solar developers in Seoul, South Korea filed a complaint against the South Korean government, claiming that the government’s subsidies for biomass generation were unconstitutional. The plaintiffs include various stakeholders, such as solar cooperatives, cooperative members, residents near planned biomass facilities, ordinary citizens of South Korea, and even a Canadian citizen.
The central argument in their complaint revolves around the idea that the government’s support for biomass generation, classified as ‘renewable energy’ under South Korean legislation, qualifies for renewable energy certificates (RECs) and associated subsidies, which they argue infringes upon the environmental rights of the citizens. They assert that these subsidies lead to increased air pollution and climate-related damage.
The plaintiffs also argue that these policies negatively affect the property rights of renewable project owners. The subsidies allocated to biomass generation reduce the available support for solar and wind energy, which, in turn, impacts the expected profits for those involved in renewable energy projects.
The key issue at the heart of this case is whether South Korea’s subsidies for biomass generation violate the constitutional environmental rights of solar owners and residents living near these facilities.
The claim made by the solar developers and other stakeholders in Seoul, South Korea, is that the government’s subsidies for biomass generation are unconstitutional and that these subsidies infringe upon the environmental rights of citizens. They argue that these subsidies contribute to increased air pollution and climate-related harm, affecting the well-being of the populace. Furthermore, they claim that these policies encroach upon the property rights of renewable project owners by reducing support for solar and wind energy, impacting the expected profits of those engaged in renewable energy projects. The core contention is that these subsidies for biomass generation violate the constitutional environmental rights of solar owners and nearby residents.
The case is currently pending before the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Korea.
The case documents are accessible via Climate Case Chart: Click here.
Korean Biomass Plaintiffs v. South Korea (28 September 2020, Constitutional Court).
20 October 2023.