GIG, Total to develop 2.3GW offshore wind capacity in S Korea

GIG will invest around $11.6bn in the five projects, with the majority of funds coming from Korean institutional investors.

Macquarie Capital’s Green Investment Group is teaming up with French energy company Total to jointly develop five floating offshore wind power projects in South Korea with a total generating capacity of 2.3GW.

“The total investment by GIG, including construction and operation, is expected to reach around 13.8 trillion won [$11.6 billion; €9.8 billion],” Woojin Choi, managing director of GIG Korea, told Infrastructure Investor. “The majority of the investment will consist of fundraising from Korean financial institutions and pension funds.”

GIG and Total plan to commence development this fall, following regulatory approvals. Of the five projects, three will be located off the coast of Ulsan City, accounting for 1.5GW of the total generating capacity; and two, totalling 800MW, will be in South Jeolla Province.

The Ulsan projects will be developed in three 500MW phases at two-year intervals with construction on the first phase expected to begin by the end of 2023, according to Choi. The timeline may be adjusted however, he said, depending on how quickly regulatory and stakeholder approval is secured.

GIG has begun collecting wind resource data relating to wind speed and direction, installing a floating light detection and ranging system in April. It will also use that data, which it will collect over a two-year period, to help address the project’s impact on the surrounding environment and ecosystem.

The firm is also seeking input from local communities, stakeholders and academics to maximise positive economic and environmental impact, GIG said in a press release.

It did not provide details or a timeline for the two projects in South Jeolla Province.

South Korea set an ambitious target in 2017, aiming to increase offshore wind generating capacity from 124.5MW currently to 12GW by 2030, a goal that president Moon Jae-in confirmed again in a speech in July. Also that month, the government allocated 19.5 billion won – in addition to the 5.8 billion won it had previously allocated to offshore wind for this year – as part of its Green New Deal.

The package, which earmarks 73.4 trillion won to be invested in green energy by 2025, aims to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear power and to increase solar and wind power generation capacity to 42.7GW by 2025 from 12.7GW in 2019.