The government has said it will build a "proving area" in the Yellow Sea by 2012 to test some 20 wind turbines from various manufacturers, but this is the first time the government’s follow-up steps have been confirmed.
Following the completion of the first-stage construction of 20 test wind turbines in 2013, instead of 2012, the government will build an "experimental wind farm complex" with 200 five-megawatt wind turbines.
By 2019, the country will have 1,000 wind turbines out in the sea, some 30 kilometers off the coast of southwestern South and North Jeolla provinces, creating up to 5 gigawatts of electricity per hour, equivalent to the amount of electricity generated by four nuclear reactors, the officials said.
"The wind farm site was picked for its shallow water, which makes the construction much easier and also cuts the cost significantly," a ministry official told Yonhap News Agency, asking not to be identified.
The government will finalize plans for the wind farm project before the end of next month, he added. The largest wind power project in the country’s history comes as Seoul is struggling to increase its use of new, renewable energy that also includes solar energy.
"The government is devising a long-term plan to lower the country’s dependence on fossil fuels to about one-third of all its energy needs by 2030," another official from the economy ministry said, noting fossil fuels currently make up about half of all energy sources.
The plan also calls for the country to increase its use of renewable energy to over 20 percent by the target year.
By Byun Duk-kun, Yonhap, english.yonhapnews.co.kr