North Korea’s military is using renewable energy sources for at least one of its air bases and may do so elsewhere in the future, state media reports revealed Monday.
Reports and photographs in the state-run Rodong Sinmun and Korean Central News Agency Monday showed that the Korean People’s Army has both a wind turbine and a solar cell array installed at the Kwail Airfield in South Hwanghae Province, home of KPA Air and Anti-Force Unit 1016 – a.k.a. the 4th Air Regiment.
According to Pyongyang’s state media, the power plant was the first part of the unit inspected by Kim Jong Un during his recent visit. The wind power turbine has been in place since at least 2011. Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un visited the unit together in November 2011 and inspected the wind power plant. There was no mention at that time, however, of the solar cells.
Unit 1016 reportedly built the wind and solar power plant with help from KPA Unit 6556, the State Academy of Sciences and – according to the 2011 report – the Kim Chaek University of Technology.
According to state media, the power plant is a major source of electricity for Unit 1016. The unit “can freely use enough electricity for combat preparations while cooking and heating with it,” the KCNA reported in 2011. “The plant freed the unit from the shortage of electricity and some of the excessive power is supplied even to a bathing resort in the unit’s stationary area.”
North Korea may be using this unit as a test site for renewable energy sources that could potentially alleviate electricity shortages throughout the country.
“It is important to conduct a dynamic drive to widely use natural energy including wind, solar ray and geotherm (sic) in order to solve the electricity problem of the country,” the KCNA quoted Kim Jong Un as saying.
Electricity shortages have plagued North Korea for many years, especially since 1991 when imports of fuel sources (including coal and oil) from China and the Soviet Union were drastically reduced. Excluding critical government and military facilities and elite areas, most North Koreans can expect no more than a few hours of electricity per day.
Featured image: Rodong Sinmun
North Korea’s military is using renewable energy sources for at least one of its air bases and may do so elsewhere in the future, state media reports revealed Monday.Reports and photographs in the state-run Rodong Sinmun and Korean Central News Agency Monday showed that the Korean People’s Army has both a wind turbine and a solar cell array installed at the Kwail Airfield in South Hwanghae
John G. Grisafi is an analyst and Korean linguist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Having previously worked as an analyst for the United States Army in South Korea and studied Korean at the Defense Language Institute, he is now majoring in East Asian Languages & Civilization and History at the University of Pennsylvania.