Donggwang is a completely energy independent village located on the western half of Jeju-do island, the largest of South Korea’s semi-tropical southern islands. The picturesque island is also home to Halla Mountain, a volcano that rises from the center of the island, and is the tallest mountain in South Korea.
Large beds of photovoltaic panels can be found on each of the 40 houses in Donggwang generating all the power necessary for the village to run. Even the local elementary school runs on free electric energy from the sun. In 2004, the government paid for 70% of the installation fees to help create the state-of-the-art renewable energy village.
Choo Chan Lee a resident of Donggwang and former successful grocery store owner in New York describes what he likes best about his chosen place of retirement,
“In Jeju we don’t have many factories, so the air is very nice. Very nice environment. The motto is a clean city - clean island. They’re trying to do this solar and then the windmills. My favorite part of living in Jeju is the fresh air. The clean air.” (Ecoworldly)
Donggwang sets an incredible example of the potential for clean renewable energy systems in an area of the world that is typically overshadowed by China’s excessive pollution.
Village’s such as Donggwang and a town in Missouri that is running on 100% wind power are no longer distant goals, but a reality, and a direction we must actively pursue in order to balance our existence on this Earth.