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Equinor eyes Korean floating offshore wind

Norwegian player and local partners to build farm near the Donghae natural gas field

Norwegian player Equinor and project partners Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and the Korean power company Korea East-West Power (EWP), plan to develop a 200MW floating offshore wind project off Ulsan in South Korea.

The Donghae 1 floating wind farm will be located near the KNOC-operated Donghae natural gas offshore field.

The consortium will carry out a feasibility study for the wind farm, including use of the Donghae 1 platform as a substation for a possible wind farm.

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Pending results of the feasibility study, the consortium will start constructing a floating offshore wind farm in 2022, with possible power production start-up in 2024, Equinor said.

“If we succeed in realising the project, the Donghae floating offshore wind project will be the world’s biggest floating wind farm, more than twice the size of Hywind Tampen on the Norwegian continental shelf,” senior vice president for the wind and low carbon cluster of New Energy Solutions in Equinor, Stephen Bull said.

Equinor operates Hywind Scotland, the world’s first full-scale commercial floating offshore wind farm, off the coast of the UK.

The company said it is exploring the possibility of supplying power to its Gullfaks and Snorre fields in the Tampen area of the North Sea from an offshore wind farm, the Hywind Tampen.

The Norwegian giant also operates two other offshore wind farms in the UK, and one in Germany. It is also developing large-scale wind projects off the UK, Germany, Poland and the US, and has previously said it sees Asia as a key future market.

South Korea is currently pushing for a transition in its energy mix, particularly shifting from nuclear and coal to renewables.

The administration of President Moon Jae-in is phasing out nuclear power and has cancelled plans for new reactors, partly in response to public safety concerns following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in neighbouring Japan.

Renewable energy is set to account for 20% of South Korea's power generation by 2030, which would require 49 gigawatts of new renewable generation capacity.

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