Korea is speeding up its wind power projects, aiming to complete construction of turbine test beds in the South and Yellow Seas by June 2013, as well as expanding some pre-existing offshore projects.
Jae-Yong NamKung, Deputy Director of New and Renewable Energy Division, confirmed Korea’s ambitions at the June 15 Global Wind Day Networking Seminar. He said a 20-MW wind power test bed in southwestern Korea would be completed a year ahead of schedule.
Wind power turbines of 5–7 MW will be tested and certified on Jeju Island as a precursor to placing them in the South and Yellow Seas. The construction and expansion of harbors is spurring the acceleration of wind turbine testing, as the new harbors will play a role in the assembly and logistics of offshore wind farm projects. The results of the tests will also be used to help the Korean government form a long-term wind power plan to be announced in early 2013.
At this time, renewable energy makes up about 2 percent of Korea’s total energy production, but government backing of the Green Growth strategy has created a competitive business niche for wind power. By 2013, Korea would like to install about 500 turbines with 100 MW capacity off its western shores in a private–public partnership. Local governments around Korea are also pushing 5-GW wind farm projects.
Korean manufacturing titans like Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Ship Building and Marine Engineering are getting into the wind power game. The Korean Wind Energy Industry Association Chairman Dr. Rimtaig Lee said that by applying the shipbuilder’s experience of natural gas and oil exploration to wind energy, the engineering firms are now building five installation vessels, cumulatively.
Chelsea is a former newspaper reporter who has spent the past few years teaching English in Poland, Finland and Japan. When she wasn't teaching or writing, Chelsea was traveling Europe and Asia, sampling spicy street food along the way.