South Korea signed a $43 billion agreement to build the world’s largest offshore wind power complex. In this way, the government aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
South Korea has few of its own energy resources and uses imported coal. This cheap but dirty fuel accounts for about 40% of the country’s electricity.
President Moon Jae In announced that it had achieved carbon neutrality last year, but at the same time South Korea is pushing for a phase-out of nuclear power. It is planned that the country will depend only on renewable energy sources.
The wind farm in Sinan, a county in Jeollanam-do province in southwestern South Korea, will be seven times larger than the current world’s largest offshore (i.e. off-shore) wind farm, Walney Extension. It is located in the northwest of England in the Irish Sea. Its installed capacity is 659 megawatts (MW). This is the largest offshore park, previously the largest was the London Array station (630 MW).
The government expects the maximum capacity to be 8.2 gigawatts, the equivalent of six nuclear power plants. In turn, the President noted that the country’s position on the Korean Peninsula gives it a geographical advantage.
“We have limitless offshore wind potential on three sides and the world’s best technology in related areas,” he added.
The project involves 33 different organizations, including regional governments, electricity producer KEPCO and large private firms including Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction and SK E&S.
Moon warned that it could take more than five years for construction to start, although the government will try to speed up the process.
Seoul last year announced its goal of becoming one of the world’s five largest offshore wind farms by 2030.
South Korea also plans to reduce the number of its existing nuclear power plants – currently the country’s only significant source of low-carbon energy – from 24 to 17 by 2034, cutting the sector’s power generation by nearly half.