How North Korea’s use-it-or-lose-it power grid impacts energy trade
The DPRK’s rickety power network means exporting electricity sometimes makes more sense than using it
Nighttime satellite imagery has long laid bare the reality of North Korea’s power situation: While South Korea blazes white with electric light, punctuated by a bright core at the nation’s capital, much of the North remains shrouded in darkness.
With the two Koreas’ energy situations cast in sharp relief, some may wonder why Pyongyang routinely exports tens of millions of kilowatt hours to China every year. In October, for instance, the DPRK sent 41 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity across the Yalu River, making up over 90% of the country’s exports.
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