Giving a speech at an economic summit in Saemangeum, South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced a watershed moment for the nation’s renewable energy policy.
Mr. Moon said he wants to turn the 409km2 of reclaimed land at Saemangeum into the country’s renewable energy hub. To that end, the government plans to funnel 10 trillion Korean won ($8.8 billion) into the development of a “mega-scale” solar and wind complex with a 4 GW generation capacity. The plan includes a 3 GW solar park, which would be the world’s largest. President Moon said the solar PV site should be commissioned by 2022.
“One of the world’s biggest solar energy and offshore wind energy generation facilities will be built in the Saemangeum area,” said President Moon, visiting the region for the second time since his inauguration. “The renewable energy production in this area will be a turning point for Korea’s renewable energy business that will foster the nation’s competitiveness in the field.”
South Korea wants to generate 20% of its power from renewables by 2030. The country is working on installing 30.8 GW of solar PV by that date, with 9% of that capacity to be developed in Saemangeum.
“The sun of Saemangeum becomes the driving force of the development of the Republic of Korea. The breeze of Saemangeum will be a resource to open the future,” president Moon said.
The head of state admitted his country is lagging OECD standards for renewable energy generation, with the 8% share of energy provided by renewables in Korea comparing badly with the 25%, on average, generated by its peers – a figure he labelled “shameful”.
The Korean president said, during his last visit to Denmark he learned the northern European nation’s wind industry accounts for 8.5% of total exports and employs more than 33,000 people, and mentioned his ambition for Korea to emulate such figures.
The Korean government reportedly wants to attract renewable energy businesses to invest in the free trade area, which the Seoul administration hopes to turn into a significant economic hub for northeast Asia. Saemangeum, which was reclaimed from the sea, offers generous tax breaks for companies which decide to establish production facilities there.
In September, the Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency (SDIA) announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Rena International for the investment of KRW55.5 billion, for the construction of a module assembly factory and storage system manufacturing plant. The project is expected to generate 120 jobs.
The SDIA also closed an MoU with NemoENG for the investment of KRW47.5 billion, to establish a production site for the company’s floating and mooring PV systems at Saemangeum.
Authored By: MARIAN WILLUHN