South Korea

Wind Energy in Korea

korea.jpgThe Republic of Korea installed 1,035 MW of wind power capacity by the end of 2016. In 2017, that capacity increased to approximately 1,165 MW. Wind power capacity in Korea increased 21% in 2016 and another 12% in 2017. The required rate of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in 2017 was 4.0% and the sixth-year target for RPS was almost achieved.

Construction began on the first stage of a 2.5-GW offshore wind farm in the southwest coast (originally proposed in 2010). Additionally, construction of a 60-MW wind farm is still in progress following delays due to environmental issues. Environmental issues and social acceptance are barriers to Korea’s wind energy deployment.

A new renewable energy deployment goal was proposed during the presidential election in 2017. A detailed deployment plan was announced in December 2017 suggesting new deployment targets and new incentive programs including RPS.

To learn more about wind energy in Korea, please review their chapter in the IEA Wind TCP 2017 Annual Report.

National Targets

The Korean government has focused on wind energy as a clean energy resource that could replace fossil fuels and nuclear power. Therefore, the new government has proposed an aggressive renewable energy deployment plan, through which Korea will increase renewable energy’s share of the electric power system to 20% by 2030. The government has announced a detailed implementation plan and prepared the supporting policies.

New installations have increased gradually, due to the relieved restrictions for site development approval and RPS restraint. The total wind power capacity in 2017 was 1,035 MW (for turbines over 200 kW).

Operational Details

In 2014, the Korean government relieved the restrictions for land-based wind turbine site development and simplified the approval process. This change has encouraged investment in wind energy. In 2016, Korea installed 182 MW of new wind energy capacity, a 21% increase that brought accumulated wind power slightly over 1 GW. In 2017, the country installed an estimated 130 MW.

However, most ship building and heavy industry companies have closed their businesses because of slow technology development and severe competition. The number of manufacturers was also decreased in 2016. The number of companies involved in wind energy shifted from 34 in 2014 to 37 in 2015, before dropping to 30 in 2016. The wind sector employed an estimated 2,424 Koreans in 2014 and 2,369 in 2015; this decreased further to 1,813 in 2016. Complicated wind farm constructions were a large contributor to this decline in sales, number of companies, and employees.

National R, D&D Priorities & Budget

Investment in the wind energy industry has been falling continuously after a peak in 2009. However, the Korean government still maintains strong willingness to support wind energy, and has continuously funded wind energy R&D, although funding amounts fluctuate.