South Korea: An exciting market for offshore wind and hydrogen

The country is committed to enhancing the renewable energy-share of its energy mix from 6% to 30% by 2036.

Karianne Skjæveland
Communication Manager
February 13, 2023
Offshore wind

Energy Transition Norway met with a delegation from Innovation Norway in South Korea - the 6th largest energy consumer of the OECD countries - to discuss business opportunities for companies within the Norwegian offshore wind and hydrogen industry.

South Korea is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. The country imports 93% of its energy, and has a rather low share of energy from renewable resources, currently about 6%.

The South Korean government, however, is committed to advancing its energy transition, and the share of renewable energy will account for 30% by 3036, explained Gunn Kim, senior market adviser at Innovation Norway's office in Seoul, the commercial section of the Norwegian embassy in South Korea.

The office works to promote Norwegian-Korean bilateral trade and offers a range of services for Norwegian companies thinking of establishing themselves in the country.

Some of the largest offshore wind projects worldwide

With some of the largest offshore wind projects worldwide, South Korea is certainly an exciting market for the Norwegian offshore wind industry. The government has set a target of 14 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, with high ambitions for floating wind. The plan is to build 9 GW off the coast of Ulsan in the Southeast and 1 GW of floating in the Southwest.

When mapping out the country's offshore wind value chain, Mr. Gunn Kim highlighted the need for Norwegian competencies in their energy transition process.

Especially regarding devex, turbine supply, turbine installation, floating moorings supply, and floating marine operations - the latter representing the biggest opportunity for Norwegian contractors.

While the country is expected to be the largest market for offshore wind outside the EU, China, and the US, Korea is equally interesting for Norwegian hydrogen producers and distributors.

A forecast of the South Korean hydrogen market

Mr. Doo Seok Kim, senior market advisor on hydrogen, mapped out the hydrogen roadmap developed by the Korean government, and touched upon a quite impressive expansion of the private and industrial use of hydrogen in South Korea.

In the Korean energy mix of 2036, hydrogen will take up 7% of the generation capacity. Installation targets of Fuel Cell power generation are forecasted to be 15GW by 2040.

As an example of industry use, Korea will need 3.8 BN tonnes of hydrogen annually for its steel production. Currently, the country’s hydrogen demand is at 130.000 tons per year. By 2040, the annual need will be some 5,3 million tons.

After excellent presentations from the Innovation Norway representatives from Seoul, Knut Høiland from Flex2power and Elin Steinsland from HydePoint presented how their companies can help Korea meet the goals of their energy transition.

Flex2power and HydePoint

Flex2power, the concept for renewable energy production from wind, solar and wave power on a floating platform which recently gained 5.4 million NOK for piloting, has a capacity factor of energy production of 68%, compared to a 50% capacity factor which is usual for offshore wind projects.

The concept is technically and economically competitive, and park-level configuration will only occupy 16% of the surface area compared to other offshore concepts.

Elin Steinsland explained how a 500 MW unit of HydePoint, a floating, unmanned, single-unit system housing both an offshore substation and a hydrogen production facility, will be able to produce 10 tons of hydrogen per hour.

This concept is optimizing the full potential of the wind farms, allowing for optimal use of electricity generated from offshore wind parks and bulk hydrogen production at a low cost.

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