The Next Frontier for Offshore Wind – South Korea

“Asian markets – and especially South Korea – are well placed to rapidly emerge as floating wind power pacesetters,” according to a recent Rechargenews.com article. Specifically, floating turbines will play a key role in deep waters off the coasts of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and China. The region as a whole could generate 130 GW of offshore wind power by 2050. (Rechargenews.com)

South Korea in particular has set high targets for its offshore wind goals. South Korea’s energy plan, launched in 2017, has set a target of 20% renewable by 2030, with a 12 GW target set for offshore wind. In 2019, three partners led by Equinor and the Korea National Oil Corporation, began feasibility studies for a 200 MW floating offshore wind farm to be located on a soon-to-be decommissioned offshore oil production site. In May 2021, the Korean authorities announced that the project could be scaled to a staggering 6 GW, all floating, which would meet fully half of the government’s offshore wind generation target. The project, which is expected to cost over $30 billion when completed, would also include a 100 MW electrolyzer component, which would use a portion of the power generated to create hydrogen – another important point of the government’s green energy plan. (offshoreWIND.biz)

In February 2021, South Korea also announced that they are planning to build an 8.2 GW offshore wind farm by 2030. If this plan comes to fruition, it will be the largest offshore wind development of its kind in the world. The effort is a public-private partnership, with the significant majority of the approximately $40 billion price tag being provided by the private sector. (RenewableEnergyWorld.com)

While the United States is working diligently to catch up with Europe in terms of offshore wind industry development, Asian countries are likely to move faster and more aggressively. By 2050, Asia is projected to account for approximately 60% of the total global installed offshore wind farms. Similar to the United States, European developers are heavily involved including the familiar Equinor and Orsted.

Maine companies with experience in offshore wind can position themselves to take advantage of the growing offshore wind opportunities in Asia and especially in South Korea, a country with strong trade relations and an established Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

To learn more about these opportunities, please contact MITC President Wade Merritt.