In the wake of Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, residents of South Korea are understandably reticent to back plans for any expansion of nuclear power; instead the state-run utility company, Korea Electric Power Corp, has announced plans to install Smart Meters in all of the nation’s homes by 2020, which will help people to manage their power consumption and hopefully remove the need for an additional nuclear power plant in as little as four years.

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Smart Meters are designed to provide consumers with real-time information on their own power use, enabling them to reduce wasteful power usage and save money. South Korea’s plans for increased energy efficiency began in 2009 with the announcement of a Smart Grid program, which, according to Bloomberg News seeks to “reduce energy consumption by 3 percent and cut electricity consumption by 10 percent by 2030. In 2030, when the project is completed, it will lead to the reduction of 230 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and 1.47 trillion won of energy imports, according to government estimates.”

The Smart Grid Program is an incredibly bold effort by South Korea to reduce their energy consumption, which more thandoubled in the 12 years leading to 2010. The program’s goals range from putting “2.5 million electric vehicles on the road along with 27,140 charging stations,” to helping “30% of households becoming energy self-sufficient,” according to triple pundit. As South Korea seeks to massively enhance its energy efficiency, the government has awarded contracts worth $1.3 billion to install 10 million smart meters by 2016, with an additional 15.2 million homes to be equipped with the technology by 2020.

Usage of Smart Meters has increased rapidly in recent years; Bloomberg reports that Italy already has these meters in all houses, while China aims to have 535 million smart meters installed by 2016. U.S. efforts to install smart meters have met with concerns over how utility companies might use such specific data on power usage — at present the meters are installed in about half of U.S. homes.

Via Bloomberg News

Lead image © Wikimedia user Sina Luckhardt