Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Big oil eyes South Korean offshore wind

© Shutterstock / Stock for youDaebu Island, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea - March 8, 2020: Sunset view of the sea with tourists and wind power plants
Daebu Island, Ansan-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea - March 8, 2020: Sunset view of the sea with tourists and wind power plants

News that South Korea aims to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm by 2030 follows moves by major exploration and production companies to establish a foothold in the nascent market.

Earlier this month South Korean president Moon Jae-In announced the proposed $43 billion scheme, which if successful, would become the world’s single largest offshore wind development.

The project, part of South Korea’s efforts to be carbon neutral in 2050, will be built off Sinan on the country’s south-western coast. It has a planned capacity of 8.2GW and could help boost the nation’s wind power capacity to 16.5GW by 2030. Officials said the wind farm will produce energy equivalent to the output of six nuclear reactors.

Significantly, as South Korea seeks to accelerate its energy transition efforts, it has become a hotspot for exploration and production players, such as Total, Equinor and Shell, that have all taken stakes in offshore wind development projects there.

In particular, South Korea’s south-west coast has become an offshore wind hot spot, attracting Aker Solutions, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and state-backed Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) too. The investors may be enticed by the existing infrastructure at the nearby Donghae gas field, which could help cut capital investment, said analysts as research group Rystad Energy.

With a strong pipeline and government commitment, the offshore wind sector in South Korea is poised for strong growth. Rystad expects the country will hit 12GW of installed wind capacity by 2030. While bottom fixed farms will dominate in the early stage of development, the challenging ocean terrain means more capital intensive floating offshore wind farms should be expected.

Indeed, the floating offshore wind power market in Asia Pacific could offer investment opportunities worth up to $58 billion as a significant market for the floating technology is emerging, said analysts at Wood Mackenzie.

The following companies have agreed to provide $42.4 billion for South Korea’s proposed 8.2GW offshore wind farm: Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco), SK E&S, Hanwha Engineering & Construction, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, CS Wind Corp and Samkang M&T. The government will provide the remaining $802 million.

The government’s ambition to boost renewable energy was reinforced in its third Basic Energy Plan announced in June 2019 with a renewable energy target of 20% by the year 2030 and 30-35% by 2040.

Large-scale solar projects are a possible solution but are constrained by land, environmental and permit issues. Therefore, an increasing focus has been put on offshore wind power.

Still, some analysts have raised doubts over South Korea’s proposed 8.2GW world-record offshore wind plan. There are question marks over the monopoly role of utility Kepco, the nation’s poor track record in renewables and uncertainties about who would supply turbines to the mega-project.

Underscoring the potential of offshore wind, Rystad said global capacity would increase by 37% this year, mostly due to new installations from China. The report said global offshore generation capacity rose 15% in 2020 despite the coronavirus pandemic, to a total 31.9GW. The report added China accounted for 39% of that increase.

Rystad said China would account for 63% of a total 11.8GW increase this year in offshore wind capacity.

Recommended for you

More from Energy Voice

Latest Posts