星期一, 九月 21, 2020
Home PV News South Korea’s floating ambition

South Korea’s floating ambition

Every summer, millions flock to a festival in the city of Boryeong, 200km south of Seoul. The community offers visitors the chance to strip down and cake themselves in mud from the local tidal flats – a key geographic feature of the Korean Peninsula’s west coast. Another 50 km to the south lies the Saemangeum Seawall – the world’s longest manmade sea dyke, and the planned site of a massive 2.1 GW, state-backed floating PV installation.

Source:pv magazine

The challenge of anchoring PV systems into the peninsula’s soft seabed is just one of many hurdles that Korea Electric Power Corp. will need to overcome as it develops the mammoth project in cooperation with companies such as Hanwha Q Cells and Hyundai Energy Solutions. But a recent investigation into an accident at a 13.7 MW floating project in Japan could help to show the way forward for Korea.

The Korean government announced the KRW 4.6 trillion ($3.7 billion) Saemangeum project last July. It will be built in two stages, with the first 1.2 GW phase set to come online in late 2022 and the remaining capacity by 2025. Seoul is now shortlisting investors for the project’s first phase, which may still be scaled back to just 300 MW, analysts say. But even if that happens, Saemangeum could still push Korea to the top of the global floating PV sector.

Molly Cox, a Wood Mackenzie researcher, says the multi-phase project “would be record-breaking” if it is completed. She notes that the project is on par with the world’s cumulative installed floating PV capacity of roughly 2.4 GW by late-2019.

Salt and wind

On the Yellow Sea, developers will need to consider challenges such as saltwater corrosion. Albert Park, head of communications for Hanwha Q Cells, notes that the Korea Energy Agency has already set guidelines to protect floating PV systems from saltwater and wind. “We expect to prevent problems arising from water,” Park explains. “They have rigid requirements for the approval of floating PV.”

The outlook for financing remains unclear. But Chris Beadles, senior analyst at IHS Markit, says an anticipated decline in wholesale power prices and renewable energy certificate (REC) prices could pose challenges.

“The REC price is already down 70% over the last three years and wholesale power prices are expected to fall, due to declining gas prices and future baseload capacity,” he explains, noting that the regional development agency and private companies will likely set up a special purpose company to finance the project.

Stakeholder engagement will also be a challenge, as with all offshore projects. The Saemangeum Seawall, completed in 2010, has always been environmentally controversial, and there is an ongoing campaign to nominate the western tidal flats as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

“Acceptance of residents is probably the most demanding challenge. There are many misunderstandings of floating PV, such as water pollution,” says Park, adding that overcoming this is “the most difficult challenge.”

Recent research

In September, Kyocera TCL Solar’s 13.7 MW floating array at the Yamakura Dam in Japan was destroyed by a typhoon. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) drew several broad conclusions about the accident in an investigation that could prove useful for Korean developers. Among its findings, METI said floating PV plants must adhere to regional codes on wind load, as with all such structures, while noting the lack of a floating-specific structural code.

The main cause of the Yamakura accident was anchor failure, and the critical relationship between water levels and mooring line tension. These are points the developers will need to consider, in addition to the challenge of anchoring in the soft, muddy seabed of Korea’s west coast.

“In the offshore environment, factors such as module degradation, system performance and reliability, as well as capex and opex figures, will be crucial to understand,” adds Cox. “[We] will learn a lot from this project.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Apple data center in Denmark powered by 50 MW of solar

Apple has revealed that its data center in Viborg, Denmark, is now being powered by a 50 MW solar project under a long-term power...

Solar + storage experiment in Tampa Bay selected for Solar Energy Innovation Network project

An innovative solar + storage research project led by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council has been selected as a finalist for the Solar...

Chinese PV Industry Brief: 350 MW wind-solar project, 200 MW of floating PV

Longyuan Energy said this week that it has signed an agreement with the municipal authorities in Binzhou, Shandong province, to build 300 MW of solar...

IEEE creates education and credentialing program for interconnecting distributed resources to the grid

IEEE and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) announced the IEEE Std 1547-2018 Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Interconnection Commissioning: Education and Credentialing Program, a new...