Seoul launched its Energy Welfare Public-Private Partnership Program in order to reduce energy poverty and promote the saving and sharing of energy by means of a partnership between local government and private actors.

Launched in 2015, Seoul’s Energy Welfare Public-Private Partnership Program is helping to alleviate energy poverty among the city’s disadvantaged communities via a range of direct and indirect support. Direct support includes financing for low-income households to have their homes retrofitted for greater energy efficiency, and training and employing disadvantaged job seekers as energy consultants and energy welfare workers to assess energy performance of low-income households. Since 2015, the program has employed 180 of these consultants who offer energy-saving consulting and tips, and carry out home energy retrofits. Many consultants build on this experience and continue their career in energy-welfare related fields.

1,295 households accessed financed for retrofits in 2015 via the Energy Welfare Public-Private Partnership Program

Cities100 – 2016

Indirect support from the program includes the creation of an innovative virtual power plant through which 17 municipal buildings and 16 universities save electricity consumption during peak hours and donate profits from saved power back to the program to finance energy welfare. Registered to sell 5 MW of electricity, this plant is the first of its kind in South Korea. It aims to create a sustainably financed method for alleviating energy poverty throughout the city.

The challenge

Seoul’s already vulnerable low-income families will become even more at risk of energy poverty as climate change accelerates. Through the Energy Welfare Public-Private Partnership Program, the city ensures that at-risk communities receive needed home energy efficiency upgrades and relevant job training and employment, while also securing an innovative and sustainable financing method to ensure the program succeeds in the long term.


Economic The virtual power plant registered under the project has resulted in annual profits of more than $180,000 sent to the Seoul Energy Welfare Civic Fund.

Environmental Around 1,600 micro-PV panels have been installed at public apartments and low-income houses in disadvantaged communities under the program.

Social Fifty former energy consultants and energy social workers are continuing work in the industry, having founded eight cooperatives and four non-profit organizations.

About Seoul

Seoul is the capital and largest metropolis of the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea). Seoul is the world’s 16th largest city and houses about half of the country’s population of 51.44 million people with 678,102 international residents. Today, Seoul is considered a leading and rising global city, resulting from an economic boom called the Miracle on the Han River which transformed it to the world’s 4th largest metropolitan economy with a GDP of US$845.9 billion in 2014.

Global Goals addressed