Did you know that the Korean government committed itself to generate 20% of the total national power supply from renewable energy by 3020? Did you also know that the Korean government is planning to make up 28% of the renewable energy share with wind power? Korea’s 3020 renewable energy development policy was released 2 years ago in 2017 and now everyone wonders where Korea stands regarding the targets set out in the 3020 Renewable Energy Roadmap. In order to share the latest updates on the offshore wind energy development status in Korea and to discuss how European companies can support the Korean government to achieve set policy goals, the Climate Action Project organized a business breakfast meeting on 25 Oct, inviting approximately 30 representatives from European companies specialized in the offshore wind energy sector, Embassies and Governments of EU Member States as well as from Korean government bodies.
Moderated by Chinpyo Park, a lawyer of BAE, KIM & LEE LLC, the event started at 7:30 in the morning with opening remarks by Ms. Anne-Charlotte Bournoville, Head of Unit International Relations & Enlargement at the Directorate General for Energy, European Commission. In her speech, Ms. Bournoville said, “The EU is the world leader in offshore wind power technologies and EU companies with their experience and knowhow are interested in participating in the Korean offshore wind power market.” She furthermore mentioned that the first offshore wind farm in the world was established in Denmark in 1991, and that the world first floating wind farm was launched in Scotland in 2017. 14% of the power consumed in 2018 in Europe was sourced from wind energy, making wind power the second largest energy source after gas in terms of total net power generation capacity in Europe.
Mr. Jinsu Sim, the Director of Renewable Energy Division from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of Korea, introduced the audience to the details of Korea’s 3020 plan, followed by Mr. Sangjun Kim, Manager of the PV & Wind Power Development Division from the Korea Energy Agency (KEA), who provided an overview on the status of the offshore wind power development status in Korea. Mr. Kim said that Korea’s offshore wind energy development target is 12GW by 3020. So far, there have been five offshore power projects completed, including three R&D demonstration projects, which are accounting for only 72.5MW in total at the moment. There is still a long road laid out for the Korean government in order to achieve set targets, also facing opposition from local communities against wind farms as well as the low technical expertise and know-how of local companies which are hindering Korea from advancing on key milestones laid out in the roadmap. Hyung-Geun Kim from Ulsan City introduced the City’s Plan for the floating offshore wind power cluster development, aimed at adding 200 MW of installed capacity.
A panel discussion started after Mr. Kim’s speech was finished. To the question about Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) supply contractual conditions between Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) and foreign EPC companies, Mr. Sim said there will be no discriminatory conditions applied against foreign entities compared to domestic companies. Regarding the question about the duration of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policy operation, Mr. Sim stated that the subsidy system will be naturally discarded when the grid parity for renewable energy is achieved in the future. To the questions how to strengthen the cooperation between the EU and Korea in the area of wind energy development, Mr. Sangjun Kim from KEA said “the Korean government does not only aim to increase the wind power share in the national power mix, but also aims to support the domestic industry in order to develop their competence in the field. It is essential that European companies transfer their technology to Korean companies when entering the offshore wind power market in Korea. European companies should also consider how to share the profits generated from their business in Korea with the local communities and contribute to job creation, including the offering of ´green jobs´ which would create a ´win-win´situation for the sector and society as a whole.
The event was ended with concluding remarks delivered by Ms. Bournoville. She emphasized the EU´s intention to support further strengthened business cooperation between the EU and Korea in the important area of offshore wind energy development and expressed gratitude for the active participation of the audience.