Major Wind Power Complex Planned for South Jeolla Coast (South Korea)

South Jeolla Province signed a contract with 26 companies and financial institutions on Thursday to build a massive wind power complex along its southwestern coast and adjacent islands and sea waters.

The 5GW Wind Energy Industry Project will aim to provide 5GW of electricity to 390,000 households. It will also curb some 7 million tons of CO2 emissions a year, making a major contribution toward the campaigns for sustainable development and eco-friendly growth.

The 26 firms, including wind power businesses, machinery manufacturers, and financial companies, will invest W15.5 trillion (US$1=W1,155) over the next 20 years to build the complex in windy areas in the province, such as Muan, Yeonggwang and Sinan.

The project is expected to create a significant domestic market for the wind power industry and boost the level of Korea’s wind power technology, which currently stands at just 75 percent of that of advanced countries. Improved technology will enable Korean firms to make inroads into markets overseas.

Jeollanam-do (South Jeolla) is a province in the southwest of South Korea. The province is part of the Honam region, and is bounded on the west by the Yellow Sea, on the north by Jeollabuk-do Province, on the south by Jeju Strait, and on the east by Gyeongsangnam-do. There are almost 2,000 islands along the coastline, about three quarters of which are uninhabited. The coastline is about 6,100 kilometres long.

A large-scale wind power cluster is to be constructed in Saemangeum, North Jeolla Province which marks South Korea’s first industrial complex composed of groups of renewable energy companies.

“We are able to embark on a plan to assemble a wind power cluster composed of a power generation complex, a R&D center and an industrial complex as it has been passed by the South Korean government,” said North Jeolla Province Governor Kim Wan-ju.

Some 359.5 billion won ($307.05 million) will be invested in the first stage of the wind power cluster project to establish a 40-megawatt power generation complex in Saemangeum industrial complex spanning 1.2 million ‡u (360,000 pyeong) from 2010 to 2014. Given one household uses an average of 3 kilowatts, providing 40 megawatts of power is considered equivalent to powering around 13,000 households.

Some 30 subsidiaries as well as large companies namely Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction (DHIC) will be entering the power generation industrial complex. Both companies plan to advance into the power generation market at home and abroad by developing a core component in wind power generation– tower (100 meter) and blade (45 meter). Furthermore, a R&D center on wind power technology will be established within the complex to help localize related-components and enhance development capacity. The center will also cultivate experts to monitor the R&D-based power generation complex, and to maintain and repair the wind power generation complex.

The second phase of the project calls for the construction of 1-gigawatt marine wind power generation for six years beginning 2015. Power generation companies namely the Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) will be financing around 4.7 trillion won in the project.