By Anders Lorenzen
South Korea, the East Asian country probably most known for its tensions with neighbour North Korea, could soon be home to the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm.
The country which is largely dependent on coal to power its economy has policies in place to produce 20% of its electricity from renewables by 2030.
A consortium has been formed in the hope of building a 200MW floating offshore wind farm, which will be much the largest in the world.
The Norwegian oil and gas giant Equinor, together with Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and the Korean power company Korea East-West Power (EWP) have formed the consortium to carry out a preliminary feasibility study. The study, if feasibly successful, will lead to the construction starting by 2020 of a floating offshore wind farm. The aim will be to start up power production by 2024. The proposed floating wind farm project, Donghae 1, is to be located close to the KNOC-operated Donghae natural gas field off the coast of Ulsan.
At the moment floating offshore wind power technology is in its early and pioneering stage and is an area where Equinor wants to have a key stakeholder position. Equinor was previously known as Statoil, reflecting the Norwegian state-owned company’s main focus on oil and gas extraction activities. In 2017 the company unveiled the world’s first floating offshore wind farm in Scotland. The 30 megawatts (MW) Hyvind project is only a fraction of the size and scope of the Donghae 1 project if it is realised.
Stephen Bull, senior vice president of New Energy Solutions in Equinor said: “If we succeed in realising the project, the Donghae floating offshore wind project will be the world’s biggest floating wind farm, more than twice the size of Hywind Tampen on the Norwegian continental shelf. A floating offshore wind farm of this size will help further increase the competitiveness of floating offshore wind power in the future.”
Last year we reported how South Koreans are struggling to wean themselves off coal. They would be hoping that floating offshore wind power and other low-carbon technologies will speed up the transition towards a cleaner energy grid. Equinor is keen to present itself as a company investing heavily in low-carbon technologies and thereby doing its bit to help to tackle climate change, though the main share of its activities is still based around oil and gas projects.