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Renewable energy

Korean companies’ race heats up in $2.8 tn global wind farm markets

Global offshore wind power installation capacity to grow from 30 GW last year to 228 GW in 2030 and 1,000 GW in 2050

By Aug 05, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Monopile and jacket foundations (Courtesy of ASM Industries)
Monopile and jacket foundations (Courtesy of ASM Industries)

The global offshore wind power generation equipment market is heating up with cut-throat competition among South Korean companies. The country’s big three shipbuilders including Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings, as well as steel pipe makers such as SeAH Steel Holdings Corporation are jumping into the race.

That came as South Korea’s government aims to raise the proportion of renewable energy to more than 50% by 2050 from the current 6.5%. Offshore wind power is considered as a “carbon-free energy source” optimized for South Korea, which has a small amount of sunlight and a small land area.

SEAH TO BUILD MONOPILE FACILITY IN UK

SeAH plans to invest 400 billion won ($349.8 million) in three years to build the world's biggest monopile facility for offshore wind turbines in the United Kingdom, according to the industry on Aug. 5. It aims to generate a revenue of more than 500 billion won from the plant with an annual capacity of 160,000 tons.

The global offshore wind power installation capacity is expected to grow from 30 gigawatts (GW) last year to 228 GW in 2030 and 1,000 GW in 2050. To realize the forecast, the industry needs a total $2.8 trillion, according to sources.

South Korean companies are targeting substructures that support wind power generators as they are more competitive with experience in offshore plant production. There is no clear global leader in the sector yet. Samkang M&T Co., a local steel pipe and ship maker, is strong at jacket foundations, fixed offshore wind power substructures. It has won a total 200 billion won offshore in wind power structure supply orders from major global companies such as ArcelorMittal, Orsted, and Lamprell.

Major shipbuilders are competing in the offshore wind floater sector. Floating offshore wind turbines have more advantages than fixed ones since they could be installed anywhere in the sea regardless of the depth of the water. But the market is tiny still since it is difficult to produce facilities capable of withstanding the harsh aquatic environment of the distant sea at low cost. Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries recently developed their own offshore wind floater models.

WIND TURBINE INSTALLATION VESSEL

The wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) sector is another market where Samsung is competing with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. are competing. A market research firm VesselsValue expect the global wind power industry to need at least 100 WTIVs to meet wind power projects in the next 10 years. That would create a market of 3 trillion-4 trillion won a year as one WTIV costs about 300 billion-400 billion won.

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. and Unison Co. are developing turbines with aims to commercialize in 2022-2023. US General Electric and Danish Vestas are leading the global turbine market.

In the wind tower market, CS Wind Corp. is the top company.

“The market is rapidly growing as Korea’s government plans to spend 66 trillion won to set up a total 12 GW wind farms with a 66 trillion won investment,” said a shipbuilding industry source. “We are expanding investment as the global market will grow to an unimaginable size.”

Write to Jung-hwan Hwang at jung@hankyung.com

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.

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