floating wind power
Image: Stock

The president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, has announced plans to invest KRW 36 trillion ($32 billion) in the construction of what is being hailed as the world’s largest offshore floating wind park.

The 6GW complex, to be completed by 2030, will be built off the country’s southeastern industrial hub of Ulsan City on the country’s first commercially viable offshore natural gas field. Ulsan is a hub for South Korea’s shipbuilding and offshore plant industries, hosting many companies that can participate in offshore wind projects.

Have you read?
Lack of installation vessels to hinder global offshore wind energy growth
Floating offshore wind: Asia Pacific’s next frontier

President Moon Jae-in stated that the investment for the project will be sourced from both the public and private sectors and that the project will create 210,000 jobs.

When completed the wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 5.7 million households and will account for half of South Korea’s planned offshore wind power production in 2030. Furthermore, the wind farm will reduce 9.3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year and produce 84,000 tons of clean hydrogen per year.

President Moon praised Ulsan’s sea as being optimal for such projects because of its wide continental shelf and strong winds of over 8 metres per second. Moon said in a speech in Ulsan: “Sea winds are like carbonless petroleum in the 21st century. Large scale offshore wind farms will bring us a short cut to achieve carbon neutral and provide us with new growth engines.”

According to a report from Wood Mackenzie, floating offshore could be the next frontier in wind power development in Asia Pacific. Although the market is still nascent in South Korea, it is expected to expand as a number of developers announce key demonstration projects.

Wood Mackenzie’s principal analyst Robert Liew, said: “This 1.56GW of new floating offshore capacity in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will require investments of at least $8 billion. If we consider the additional 9GW project pipeline in early planning stages, total investment opportunities could be worth up to $58 billion.

“Governments in these markets are increasingly looking to renewables to fill the supply gap, but due to land constraints, scalable options are limited. Floating offshore wind is starting to gain more attention but the high cost remains a major barrier to widespread adoption of this technology.”