Key permit given to Ocean Winds and Aker Offshore Wind’s floating project off South Korea

Ocean Winds and Aker Offshore Wind joint venture aims to develop up to 1.3GW of floating wind off the coast of South Korea

Ocean Winds has previously helped to develop floating offshore wind farms, including the 25MW Windfloat Atlantic project off Portugal

Ocean Winds and Aker Offshore Wind have obtained an electric business licence (EBL) from the South Korean government for their 500MW KF Wind A floating offshore wind project.

The EBL is a mandatory requirement to generate and supply electricity in South Korea and grants the developers exclusive development rights to build the project.

Ocean Winds and Aker Offshore Wind are co-developing a total of up to 1.3GW of floating offshore wind capacity about 80km off the coast of Ulsan in the south-east of South Korea.

The companies said the EBL – issued by the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy – was a milestone towards realising their ambition to create the “largest and first commercial-scale floating wind farm in the world”.

But they must still seek permits, including environmental authorisation, a ‘"use permit for public waters", and a transmission service agreement, which they expect to secure over the next two years.

Ocean Winds will own 66.7% of the Korea Floating Wind (KF Wind) joint venture while Aker Offshore will own the remaining 33.3%.

The companies have been granted an EBL for up to 870MW and they expect to obtain a second in February for up to 450MW as the project matures, with the objective of reaching financial close in 2024 and beginning commercial operations up to four years later.

They have set up two special purpose vehicles — companies set up for a specific purpose — to develop them and they expect the project to generate 4,000GWh annually.

Guzman Figar, project director of KF Wind, said: “Securing the EBL will allow KF Wind to continue with its investment plan and to create local jobs in South Korea.”

South Korea aims to generate 20% of its power from renewable sources by 2030, of which 12GW will come from offshore wind.

At COP26, the South Korean government committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, from a 2018 peak.

Philippe Kavafyan, chief executive officer of Aker Offshore Wind, said: “Our proven floating technology… will enable a faster industrialization of the supply chain to deliver with our partners in South Korea the job creation associated with the first large commercial scale floating wind farm.”

Earlier this month, Singapore-based subsea engineering company G8 secured permitting approval to proceed with plans for the 1.5GW Holim offshore wind project, off the south-western tip of South Korea, agreed with South Korean industrial group Holim Tech.

And in November, a Shell-led joint venture with CoensHexicon secured a licence for the first stage of the 1.3GW MunmuBaram floating wind project off the coast of South Korea's Ulsan region.