A major factor standing in the way of a global shift from oil and gas to renewable energy has been the sheer size of the major companies operating in the former. In recent years, facing increased global pressure and fluctuating oil prices, those majors have begun diversifying into clean energy ventures.
A centre of activity and investment from the Majors are projects across Asia. According to consultancy firm Rystad Energy renewable investment in Asia will overtake spending on upstream oil and gas projects. Most significantly, investment is going heavily to South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
“These countries each have strong pipelines for renewable energy developments of all types, including offshore wind. And, importantly, most have large targets outlining the inclusion of renewable power sources within their respective energy mixes, with corresponding support policies,” said Gero Farruggio, Head of renewables at Rystad.
High levels of internal investment will provide benefits to the local economy and of course the oil majors putting their money up front hope that they will benefit too. The likes of Shell, Equinor and Total are leading the way, hoping to secure a place in the clean energy future from one of the fastest advancing regions.
Fircroft has experience in supporting major projects across the region within the renewables sector. Having recruited technical specialists for renewable energy jobs across the world, this expertise will be expanded to locations such as Korea where we have operated for over 10 years supporting a number of projects, including Moho Nord, Badamyar, Egina, Martin Ling, Prelude FLNG and Asta Hansteen.
So of course it’s in our best interest to stay on top of the developments by these companies towards this industry in these locations, and we’re able to share this information to benefit those engineering professionals who may be suited to future high-level jobs on these projects.
As some of the largest names in oil and gas begin to create new renewable energy jobs in Asia, we take a look at a few of the major developments in the pipeline.
In May this year the government of South Korea set in motion a long-term energy plan to increase the use of renewable power from 15.1% of the energy mix to 40% by 2034. This coincides with plans to retire 30 coal-fired power plants in the country while also reducing the share of nuclear energy.
To help accomplish this, by 2030 South Korea hopse to invest $46 billion in the renewables sector, creating 1.9 million new jobs in green energy and other new technologies. This will include partnering with other firms launching renewables projects, including our so-called oil majors. The coastal province of Ulsan is the leading area for offshore wind, including these four major projects:
Donghae Floating Offshore Wind Farm
Equinor, Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC), Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Korea East West Power Co.
Cost: $300 million
First proposed in June 2018, KNOC and Equinor entered into an agreement with Korea East-West Power Co. for the joint development of the Ulsan Donghae 1 floating offshore wind farm project following the successful completion of a feasibility study.
The farm will consist of 50 turbines on a floating foundation. Each will have a 4MW capacity, totalling 200MW of potential power. The floating farm is intended to be located close to the Donghae gas field, 54km off the coast of Ulsan.
Construction is planned to begin in 2022, with the hopes to fully commission the wind farm by 2024.
Ulsan City Floating Offshore Wind Farm
Cost: $1.3 billion
Shell are also hoping to reap the benefits of floating wind farms in Ulsan, having finalised a joint development agreement with CoensHexicon in July 2019.
Like Equinor’s, this will be another 200MW farm and will be located 50km off the city of Ulsan, though it has yet to be confirmed what the actual size of the development will be.
The planned farm will use Hexicon’s second-generation floating wind platform designs that will first be deployed at the TwinWind project. The platform is designed to tilt turbines and towers outwards, thereby reducing the size of the foundation and its weight. The project will also feature a new semi-tension leg mooring system. The wind farm will be developed in water depths of 40 metres.
Preparations are underway for feasibility studies. The project was originally due for commissioning in 2022, though there will likely be some delays caused by the Covid-19 situation.
Ulsan Floating Offshore Wind Complex & South Jeolla Floating Offshore Wind Farm
Total, Green Investment Group
Cost: $1.5 billion
Total just announced plans for their own floating wind development, in a complex that will encompass three floating wind farms located in Ulsan, totalling 1.5GW of power. The three developments will be undertaken separately, with the first expected to be commissioned in 2023. A floating LiDAR unit has already been installed in April 2020, to collect data on wind speeds and direction for the project’s design and planning. The assessment will be carried out over a two-year period.
In addition to the three farms at the floating offshore wind complex, Total also announced two additional projects in the South Jeolla Province, totalling 800MW.
“Our entry in the floating offshore wind segment in South Korea is in line with Total’s strategy to profitably develop renewable energy worldwide and contribute to our net zero ambition,” said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman & CEO of Total.
“We strongly believe in the potential of floating offshore wind in South Korea, which will play a key role in achieving the country’s renewables objectives. Thanks to its extensive experience in offshore projects, in cooperation with many Korean shipyards, Total is particularly well positioned to contribute to the successful development of this new technology in South Korea together with our partner GIG.”
Firefly offshore wind farmEquinor
Cost: $2.5 billion
Back to Equinor and the most expensive project on our Korea list is yet another floating offshore wind project based in the waters of the Ulsan Province.
Firefly will be an 800MW development located 80km off the coast of Ulsan City. Equinor signed a Memorandum of Understanding with city in may 2019 and began a wind measurement campaign at the potential project site in July 2020.
Two RPS floating LiDAR buoys have been deployed and will be carrying out metocation data collection until 2021. The project is hoped to startup by 2028.
Like South Korea, Japan has set in place new laws to hit higher renewable energy targets - in this case they want renewable production to double to 24% of the energy mix by 2030.
Unlike South Korea, Japan’s priorities are with solar energy, rather than wind. Currently 73 of the world’s 100 largest floating solar plants are operated by Japan. The government is also subsidising electricity generated by solar power to households, creating an attractive level of demand.
Miyagi Osato Solar ParkTotal, SB Energy Corp., Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc.
Cost: $120 million
Total are taking up Japan’s solar targets by investing a 45% stake in the park, based in Osato, Miyagi prefecture.
The park will include 116,000 SunPower photovoltaic (PV) panels, totalling 52MW in capacity. This will actually be Total’s third solar project to be built in Japan - and their largest.
Construction has begun on the park, and it is due for commercial operation in 2021.
Taiwan relies heavily on fuel imports for its energy and as such is dependent on other nations. Investment in local energy will be a boost to the economy and the nation has put in place plans to target a 20% renewable power mix by 2025.
Taihai Taoyuan Floating Offshore Wind FarmShell, Cobra
Cost: $750 million
Shell are taking the reigns on Taiwanese renewable energy investment with a planned floating wind farm to be installed in the Taiwan Strait of Taoyuan county, around 11km from shore in water depths of up to 90m.
The project itself has been planned since 2016 and had faced several delays, but Shell acquired it in 2020, reopening its potential. The plan is to develop a floating offshore wind farm with a total installed capacity of 500MW, comprising of turbines with a capacity of 5-8MW.
Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest growing countries in terms of energy consumption, fuelle by robust economic development, increasing urbanisation and steady population growth. It is the largest energy user in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), accounting for nearly 40% of total energy use among ASEAN members.
Indonesia has ambitious targets to increase its use of renewable energy, with modern renewables (excluding traditional uses of bioenergy) targeted to provide 23% of total primary energy supply by 2025 and 31% by 2050.
PLTB Tanah Laut Wind Farm
Total, EREN Groupe, PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara
Cost: $112 million
Total Eren, a joint venture of Total and EREN Groupe signed a letter of intent with PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) for the supply of electricity from a 70MW wind farm to be built in the Tanah Laut Regency in 2017. Total Eren will finance, build and operate the farm, with GE listed as the preferred turbine supplier and slated to conduct a project design and grid connection study.
The onshore wind farm will have a total capacity of 70MW and was originally planned to begin commercial operation in 2021, though currently construction is not believed to have begun.
The project will form phase 1 of a larger 150MW wind farm complex, with a 20MW and 60MW phase 2 and 3 to follow.
Across Asia there are significant investments coming from all sectors in renewable energy. These are just a few upcoming ones from major energy firms best known for their oil & gas operations.