Korea Shifts from a Steel Powerhouse to a Wind Energy Powerhouse
SEOUL, KOREA — “If the Korean government’s proactive wind power policies go hand in hand with drastic investment by relevant companies and efficient R&D projects, the wind power industry will create synergy with Korea’s world-class technologies related to shipbuilding, automobiles and the heavy industry. This will catapult Korea into the ranks of the world’s wind powerhouses in the near future,” Dr. Rim-taig Lee, Chairman of Korea Wind Energy Industry Association (KWEIA) said. KWEIA has been at the forefront of globalizing Korea’s wind power companies. They have signed MoUs with global wind power associations such as American Wind Energy Association (AWEA, Stephen Miner, Senior Vice President of AWEA), RenewableUK(CEO, Maria McCaffery), the Danish Wind Industry Association (DWIA, Jan Hylleberg, CEO of DWIA) and Innovation Norway(President & CEO, Gunn OVESEN).
Wind Power Furnishes 2% of the Global Electrical Energy Demand
Nations around the globe are busy working to attain renewable energy sources. The global wind power market, which witnessed installed global wind capacity increase to 40.2 GW in 2011 (up 6% from 2010), has been on a steady upward trajectory: The new global total at the end of 2011 is 238 GW, representing cumulative market growth of more than 20%,which is certainly a respectable figure for any industry in this economic climate, even though it is lower than the average over the last 10 years, which was about 28%.
Global wind power generation accounts for 2% of the world’s electrical energy consumption, which is comparable to Italy’s total energy demand. In terms of wind power generation capacity, the China ranks first, followed by US (2nd) and Germany (3rd). The main drives of growth in the global market, as they have been for the past several years, are the Asian powerhouses of China and India.
The current installed capacity of wind power in the United Kingdom is 6,540 MW which generates 22,343 GWh of power. Of the UK’s total wind power capacity, offshore wind power capacity is 2,000 MW, the largest in the world. Offshore wind power facilities that are currently under construction will add 2,359MW. 66,000 MW of new wind power capacity is in the planning phase. All in all, the UK’s wind power capacity totals roughly 73,000 MW, similar to Korea’s total power capacity. The share of wind power in the UK’s energy portfolio was in the 3% range in 2011, and is expected to rise to 6-7% by 2016, 17% by 2020 and up to 50% by 2050.
The announcement by Germany to abolish nuclear energy over the next eleven years has caused a large interest in wind power. According to the Global Energy Cooperation Center (GECC), Germany has a total of 22,297 wind generators that are capable of producing 29,075 MW.
In 2011 alone, Germany installed 690 wind turbines. According to German Wind Energy Association (BWE), the installation of wind turbines has been on the decline in Germany, so German wind power companies are turning their attention to overseas markets. Statistically speaking, the share of wind power in Germany’s renewable energy industry is the largest at 8%, followed by biomass 5%, hydraulic power 3% and photovoltaics 3%. In 2011, renewable energy accounted for 20% of Germany’s total electrcity generation, the second highest after lignite (25%). Germany’s announcement of a reversal of policy that will see its nuclear power plants phased out by 2022 will raise the share of renewable energy to 35% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. As of 2011, Germany's electricity supply was produced from oil (33.9%), coal (24.3%), natural gas (20.6%), renewables (10.8%) and nuclear power (8.8%).
Korea is Keen on Offshore Wind Power Generation
Korea also has set its sights on offshore wind power projects. The Korean government is speeding up the construction of wind power turbine test beds to vitalize the offshore wind power business in the South and Yellow Seas. At the Global Wind Day Networking Seminar held on June 15, Jae-Yong NamKung (Deputy Director of New and Renewable Energy Division of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE)) said, “The construction of a 100 MW wind power test bed in Yeonggwang County (a county in South Jeolla Province) will be completed in June of next year, a year earlier than the initial schedule.”
The existing wind power test beds in Kim-nyeong on Jeju Island will undergo expansion to allow a test run of 5-7 MW turbines. 3-7MW turbines that will be utilized in the offshore wind power project in the South and Yellow Seas will be tested and certified at the wind power test beds in Kim-nyeong. The Korean government plans to enlarge the wind power test beds in Kim-nyeong to test two 7MW wind turbines. The construction of harbors is also given renewed impetus to back up the offshore wind power project in the South and Yellow Seas. Next month, the selection of corporate partners and the signing of contracts will be finalized to start the project in August. New harbors will be designed to facilitate the assembly of equipment parts and logistics.
In consideration of wind power’s contribution to Korea’s renewable energy supply goal which has been set as attainable by 2030, the mid- and long-term unit price of offshore wind power will be decided within this month. By September, detailed action plans for systems, floating structures supporting wind turbines, grid connections, and construction technologies will be drawn up to achieve the unit price. The Korean government is carrying out field studies on the construction of offshore wind power sites to hammer out a mid and long-term offshore wind power development roadmap that is slated to be released in the first half of next year.
Korea’s Wind Power Industry Is in the Spotlight
Korea’s wind power industry is still in its infancy: renewable energy sources account for a mere 2% of Korea’ total energy generation. Though several Korean wind power companies boast cutting edge technologies for the production of some parts, Korea’s wind power industry has taken a backseat to the solar power industry. However, backed by the government-led “low carbon, green growth policy” and a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) set in 2010 and become effective form 2012 (a regulation that requires the increased production of energy from renewables), the wind power industry is rapidly becoming one of the most promising industries in Korea.
Three years ago, the Korean Government announced “Green Growth” as a governmental strategy, and is utilizing all of its resources with the goal of developing renewable energy as an indigenous source of energy and promoting business for the global wind industries. The offshore wind sector is expected to grow with a target of 7.5GW installed capacity by 2030. The medium and long term strategy is investing EUR 5.8 billion with a total capacity of 2.5GW by 2019.
In lieu of the hype surrounding wind power, Korea’s heavy industry giants including Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. are vying to jump on the bandwagon of wind power.
Chairman Lee said, “A remarkable industry trend to note is the largest shipbuilders such as Hundai Heavy Industry, Samsung Heavy Industry, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering and STX shipbuilding are now fully concentrated on the offshore wind orientated business industry. This allows them to utilize their accumulated track records and the experiences in ocean engineering, construction of the offshore structures for the oil and gas exploration and platform projects worldwide and apply them to wind power.” He also mentioned, “Cumulatively, the shipbuilders are now building the five installation vessel for the offshore wind facility awarded by European customers. Two units out of five vessels has already built and launched.”
Korea is aiming to set up a private-public partnership to install around 500 turbines off the west coast with a 100MW capacity by 2013, a 900MW project by 2016 and 1.5GW by 2019. Grid access for the first phase will be 154KV, HVDC and 45KV, HVDC for the second phase. In addition, the local governments are promoting another 6 GW in offshore wind farm projects nationwide in parallel to the other planned initiatives.
Chairman Lee expects, “Korean Players will be provided with a great opportunity and potential to play a role in installation, cable laying and manufacturing of the major parts such as generators, transformers, switchgears and control system, as well as steel products such as towers, shafts, bearings and forged materials.They will make a substantial contribution towards mitigating global cllimate change and towards expediting green growth worldwide, despite the fact that involvement in the offshore wind business is, as of yet, minor.”
Korea Wind Energy Industry Association (KWEIA, www.kweia.or.kr) was founded in upgrade Korea’s wind power industry through reinforced bonds among relevant entities, exchanges with the government, and efforts to find solutions to problems. Despite its short history, KWEIA has continued to raise its profile: it was accredited by the MKE in February, 2010 and became a signatory to the WWEA in March of the same year. In February of 2011, the KWEIA was named as a member of the GWEC’s board of directors.
To make continued progress, KWEIA sets goals aimed at rejuvenating the domestic wind power market, consults with the Korean government on the realignment of relevant laws and institutions, provides Korean wind power companies with key technological information in a timely manner, and encourages technological exchanges between industry and academia.
Above all, KWEIA is intent on improving technological and institutional areas related to the construction of wind power facilities in order to increase Korea’s dependence on wind power. As of now, KWEIA has nearly 100 members including Samsung Heavy Industries, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Korea Southern Power Co., POSCO Power, Hyundai Engineering and Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).
As for international relations, in 2011 KWEIA signed a MoU with DWIA to promote brisk business activities and trade relations between the members of each association. In May, 2012, KWEIA struck a MoU with RenewableUK.