S. Korea Fast-Tracks Plan to Build World's Largest Offshore Wind Farm

moon jae in
President Moon Jae In speaks at the signing ceremony for the new wind project at Sinan (Blue House)

Published Feb 8, 2021 12:37 AM by The Maritime Executive

The government of South Korea has pledged to put its support behind a $43 billion plan to build the world's biggest offshore wind farm. 

As part of President Moon Jae-In's "Green New Deal" plan for reducing the nation's carbon emissions, the administration is backing a proposed 8.2 gigawatt wind farm off the coast of Sinan, a small archipelago just west of Mokpo. If fully built out, it would be the largest single offshore wind project in the world, and it would double the nation's existing wind power capacity. 

The objective behind the project is to jump-start South Korea's renewable energy industry and make the nation a leader in offshore wind power by 2030. Japan and China both plan large-scale expansion into offshore wind, and the Sinan megaproject will bring South Korea in line with its neighbors. 

Moon's administration estimates that its construction and operation would create 120,000 jobs, along with new opportunites at manufacturing centers in Mokpo, Yeongam and Sinan. In a "win-win" development model, Moon said, local residents will have employment opportunities from the project, along with a share of the profits in the form of a lifelong "offshore wind power pension." 

"The government will provide every necessary support under the goal of making [South Korea] one of the world's top five offshore wind powerhouses by 2030," Moon said at a signing ceremony Friday. "We will shorten the project preparation period, which takes more than five years to start construction, and enact special laws to provide comprehensive support from location discovery to licensing."

In line with Moon's goals for economic development, the megaproject will have an all-domestic lineup. The partners include utilities Kepco and SK, turbine and powerplant builder Doosan Heavy Industries, infrastructure construction company Hanwha and wind farm developer CS Wind.

Doosan's most powerful offshore turbine is a 5.5 megawatt model, and it is working on an eight megawatt design. The largest turbines available on the international market develop about 14 megawatts. In general, larger models with a greater swept area have a higher capacity factor for the same wind resource, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency