South Korea recently announced a massive $8.2 billion offshore wind power farm that will provide a major boost to its renewable energy infrastructure. The wind farm, which will be built off the country’s west coast by 2019, will also aid the country’s wind turbine exporters. Speaking about the new project, the South Korean Knowledge Economy Ministry said that the wind farm will generate about 2,500 megawatts of electricity once it is finished.
The project will be developed near the southwestern counties of Buan and Yeonggwang by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, and current plans project the construction of 500 turbines. The project will be partly funded by the South Korean government, but a large amount of the investment will come from private firms and investors. South Korean machinery firms such as Samsung Heavy Industries and STX Heavy Industries are also expected to aid in the wind farm’s development, as they are both hoping to gain a foothold in the lucrative global wind power market.
The Ministry defended the project from critics, saying that “the small size of our land, offshore wind farms, with less environmental damage and fewer potential complaints from residents, are far more promising sources of energy than onshore wind farms.”
South Korea is currently Asia’s fourth largest economy, but it imports 97 percent of its energy from overseas. As such, it has made major investments in diversifying its energy sources and cutting its economy’s dependency on fossil fuels. Last month, Seoul announced an ambitious five-year plan to spend $36 billion developing renewable energy as its next economic growth engine. It hopes that it will become one of the world’s five top players in the sector, although it will have to go a long way to beat China.