South Korea announced plans to construct the world’s largest offshore wind farm, an 8.2 gigawatt project off the coast of Jeollanam-do Province’s Sinan county. At a ceremony celebrating the signing of investment agreements for the wind farm, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that 48.5 trillion won (over USD$43 billion) will be invested in the project through 2030.

According to President Moon, the massive project will generate power equivalent to six nuclear power reactors, enough to meet the electricity needs of every household in the cities of Seoul and Incheon.

The President also highlighted the economic benefits the project will bring, as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Moon said:

“The economic benefits are also tremendous. By 2030, 48.5 trillion won will be invested in this project, creating 120,000 jobs. Mokpo will become a logistics hub for the wind farm. Yeongam and Sinan will host massive manufacturing complexes to produce equipment needed for offshore wind farms.”

The project forms a significant step towards fulfilling South Korea’s recently announced climate goals. In October, President Moon announced that the country would aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Moon’s pledge included trillions of won to be invested in transforming the country’s coal-reliant energy infrastructure to a renewable energy base. South Korea is one of the top ten carbon emitters in the world, responsible for over 1.8% of global emissions in 2017. Over 40% of the country’s electricity is sourced from coal.

In his speech, Moon stated that South Korea, with its abundant coastlines, aims to become a world leader in offshore wind power, and that the country will work quickly to speed this development. Moon said:

“The Sinan offshore wind power project, which is taking its first step today, will also be implemented swiftly. Offshore wind power generation is growing by nearly 30 percent annually worldwide. Our potential in this field is unlimited as the Korean Peninsula borders the sea on three sides. Korea has the world’s best technological prowess in offshore plants and steel; the country is second to none in these related fields.

“The Government will provide all the support necessary with the goal of becoming one of the world’s top five countries generating offshore wind power by 2030. The time needed to prepare such a project – currently more than five years before construction can start – will be shortened. Special acts will be put in place to provide comprehensive support that includes early steps from finding a location to gaining approval.”