Wind Power

12 May 2021

South Korea Takes Step Away from Fossil Fuel with Offshore Wind Farm

12 May 2021  by Robert Besser   

South Korea will build the world's largest floating offshore wind farm, calling it one of the cornerstones in developing clean energy, according to President Moon Jae-in.

The cost of the program has been set at $32 billion.

The wind farm will be built in the waters off the southeastern industrial city of Ulsan. Plans call for it to generate 6 gigawatts of energy, enough to power 5.8 million homes.

The project, to be completed by 2030, is expected to create 210,000 jobs.

"The sea winds are like a carbon-free 21st-century oil resource," Moon said in Ulsan on May 5.

In October 2020, South Korea joined other nations in pledging to slash its greenhouse gases and become carbon neutral by 2050. South Korea is Asia's fourth-largest economy. Officials have said it will work to become one of the world's top five offshore wind-producing countries over the next decade.

In February, South Korea announced plans to build a $43 billion offshore wind farm near the southwestern city of Sinan, with an 8.2-gigawatt capacity that would make it the world's largest.

Currently, coal is the main source for power generation in South Korea, accounting for more than 40 percent of the nation's power. In March, Moon said he would end all public financing for new overseas coal-fired power plants.

Moon described the Ulsan offshore wind farm as a "shortcut" to reaching Korea's green energy goals. The area for the wind farm has deep waters and an average wind speed of some 18 miles per hour, he said.

By using floating wind turbines to generate power, the turbines can be anchored in waters farther from shore where wind speeds are greater.

"Ulsan will leap forward from the industrial capital of the fossil fuel era to the industrial capital of the clean energy era," Moon said. "Ulsan's floating offshore wind farms will become oil fields on the sea and open the future of an energy powerhouse."

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