South Korea to Build Largest Offshore Wind Farm (in World)

South Korea is a definite cleantech leader. Its cleantech investments per GDP are many, many times more than the US’, or any other country’s I’m aware of. Check out the graphics below on percentage of countries’ stimulus packages that went towards green technology — South Korea is the last pie.

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Now, continuing on with its green focus, South Korea has announced that is is investing 10.2 trillion won (US$9 billion) into building a 2.5-gigawatt (GW) offshore wind farm — the largest in the world.

“Located offshore of South Korea’s southwestern coast, the offshore wind farm will be built in three phases by South Korean companies led by Korea Electric Power, the country’s largest electric utility,” Andrew Burger of sister site CleanTechnica writes. “The first is a 100 megawatt demonstration phase to be completed by 2014. Wind turbines with capacities ranging from 3 MW to 7 MW will be erected mainly off the coast of Jeollabukdo and Jeollanamdo provinces in three stages at a projected cost of 400 billion won (~US$353 million).”

With wind energy booming around the world for a few years now, some have noted that South Korea would have a hard time breaking into this field business-wise and capitalizing on investments in wind energy. However, in the offshore wind sub-sector, there has been less development despite tremendous offshore wind resources around the world, and South Korea could potentially become a leader here.

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Photo courtesy of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering; Recharge News

“South Korea is a latecomer to wind energy and is coming in at a very difficult time for the industry, where severe competition and falling turbine prices are squeezing the profits of the entire supply chain,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance lead wind analyst Justin Woo commented.

“Offshore wind is probably the best entry point for Korean companies into this sector, given their extensive shipbuilding and marine engineering experience as well as the country’s excellent offshore wind resources.”

In 2009, clean, renewable energy only accounted for 3% of South Korea’s energy needs. By 2013, it is projected to rise to 4%; by 2020, 6%; and 13% by 2030.

For more on South Korea’s clean energy targets and policies, check out: South Korea to Build World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm, Domestic Wind Power Industry.