South Korea partners for offshore wind

June 13, 2012 at 11:44 AM

SEOUL, June 13 (UPI) -- The United Kingdom and South Korea have formed an alliance to promote collaboration between the countries in offshore wind and tidal and wave power.

he U.K.-Korea Ocean Energy Technology Cooperation Project, funded by the British Embassy, involves U.K. renewable energy consultancy IT Power and the Korea Maritime University but other companies and research institutions in the two countries can join the network, IT Power says.

IT Power told BusinessGreen that the alliance will issue two reports this year on the offshore wind and marine energy potential for both the United Kingdom and South Korea intended for the two embassies to use to promote investment and partnership in the sectors.

"We now have a formal framework within which we will support commercial links with sound reporting on technologies and economics," Professor Lee Young-ho of KMU said in a statement.

The two countries are considered among the world's most advanced markets for emerging offshore energy technologies.

South Korea, which imports 97 percent of its energy needs, has 2.5 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity under development, and last year completed the Siwha tidal barrage, the largest in the world. It also plans to build a 100 megawatt offshore wind test project by 2014, a 400 megawatt project by 2016 and a 2 gigawatt project by 2019.

The United Kingdom has 1.8 gigawatts of installed offshore wind power capacity online -- the world's largest. A further 3 gigawatts are under construction and an additional 42 gigawatts planned.

Scott Wightman, the United Kingdom's ambassador to South Korea, says his country is also at the forefront of the development of tidal and wave energy and welcomed the alliance between the two countries.

"Commercial diplomacy is an integral part of our foreign policy, and this project should lead to real advances in co-operation between our two countries," Wightman said in a statement.

He said South Korea is leading the way in green growth in the Asia Pacific region "and is one of the most exciting markets in the world."

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas also said last month that it has targeted South Korea as a future growth area for the company's offshore ambitions.

South Korea aims to reduce its carbon emissions 30 percent by 2020 and plans to spend $36 billion over the next five years to develop renewable energy sources, says Namkung Jae-young, deputy director of the Offshore Wind Department at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

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