On September 28, 2020, more than 60 solar power plant owners and residents near biomass plants sued the South Korean government in the South Korean Constitutional Court, challenging biomass subsidies on climate and pollution grounds. The plaintiffs allege that the South Korean New and Renewable Energy Promotion Act and regulations treat biomass generation as renewable and low or zero carbon, thus making it eligible for significant subsidies. According to the plaintiffs, however, biomass generation leads to forest devastation, higher CO2 emissions than coal, and local air pollution. As a result, South Korea's biomass policy violates South Korean constitutional environmental rights.
The plaintiffs also allege that Korean biomass policy infringes on the property rights of solar power plant owners and other renewable energy developers. They argue that the false classification of biomass burning as carbon neutral and renewable diverts subsidies away from other, truly carbon neutral resources.