Country Reports

Development of ocean energy in Korea has been predominantly focused on establishing promotions for commercialization and technology demonstrations. In 2016, this industrial trend began to move forward by launching new projects, which involve construction and demonstration of open sea test sites and ocean energy systems.

The market incentive for renewables in Korea is based on the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) policy. A REC value for tidal current is currently 2.0 and they consider its increase to accelerate the market development. In addition, the inclusion of wave and ocean thermal energies in REC policy is presently being discussed.




The national strategy for the development of ocean energy in Korea, approved by the National Science and Technology Council in 2015, was established based on the “Mid-term and Long-term Clean Ocean Energy Development plan 2015-2025”, which was written by both MOF (Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries) and MOTIE (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy). It emphasized the key action plan to stimulate R&D and to commercialize technologies related to the ocean energy.

Although there is no explicit legislation or regulation related to ocean energy by itself, there are national acts towards the development of the renewable energy, such as the “Framework Act on Low Carbon, Green Growth”, the “Act on the Promotion of the Development, Use and Diffusion of New and Renewable Energy”, and the “Energy Act” in general.

Furthermore, various regulatory measures for marine environmental protection are being implemented in the development of ocean energy, such as the “Framework Act on Marine Fishery Development” and the “Marine Environment Management Act”.

The “Act on the Promotion of the Development, Use and Diffusion of New and Renewable Energy” enforces the obligatory appliance of the renewable energy resources for public buildings and the thermal ocean energy for the air conditioning is to be one of the renewable energy resources.

The renewable portfolio standard was established in 2012 to enforce utility companies with the capacity of over 500 MW to provide an obligatory portion of the total electricity production with renewable energy, which was 4.0% in 2016.

The market incentive plan, known as tradable Renewable Energy Certificate (REC), supplements the RPS policy. The value of REC is 2.0 for tidal current, 1.0 for tidal barrage with embankment and 2.0 for tidal barrage without embankment, whereas the value of REC for the wave and thermal ocean energy is yet to be determined.

MOF and MOTIE provide public funding for ocean energy R&D, as well as demonstration projects. MOF funding focuses mainly on open sea demonstrations under the “Practical Ocean Energy Technology Development Programme” while the MOTIE primarily supports the fundamental R&D projects under the “New and Renewable Technology Development Programme”.

10 MW Class Wave-Offshore Wind Hybrid Power Generation System
The main objective of this project was to develop the design technology for the 10 MW wave offshore wind hybrid power generation system and to design the 10 MW standard model powered by the deep ocean energy resource. The project, with the duration of approximately 3 years, from June 2013 to May 2016, was supported by the Korean Government, through the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, with USD 11 million for the total amount of funding. The project team was organised and led by KRISO and 10 universities (8 Domestic and 2 International), 5 research institutes (4 Domestic and 1 International), and 10 industrial companies (8 Domestic and 2 International). The major research contents for the project were as follows:

  • Development of design technology for a floating wave-offshore wind hybrid power generation system;
  • Development of structural safety analysis and high strength material application technology for a large floating wave-offshore wind hybrid power structure;
  • Development of integrated control and grid connection technology for wave-offshore wind hybrid power generation system;
  • Development of design standardization and practical application technology for a wave-offshore wind hybrid power generation system;
  • As a result, the project has succeeded to develop the design of a floating wave-offshore wind hybrid power generation system, as well as the performance analysing programme with the design manuals for the floating wave-offshore wind power generation system.

Wave Energy Converter with Energy Storage System Applicable to Breakwaters in Remote Island
The present research project is aimed to establish the commercializing foundation for the ocean energy by developing the integrated energy storage system and wave energy converters, applicable to the breakwater in remote harbours and ports. The project, with the duration of approximately 4 years, from May 2016 to December 2020, is supported by the Korean Government, through the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The major research contents for the project are as follows:

  • Prioritization of potential sites for the wave power generation, and detail survey and analysis on their environmental conditions;
  • Development of a standard model of small capacity wave energy converters (WECs) applicable to the breakwater;
  • Development of interface technologies of an integrated system of wave power converters and energy storage system (ESS), useful for remote islands with independent micro grid network;
  • Sea test of a pilot plant of the integrated system of WECs applied to the breakwater and ESS embedded to the independent micro grid system.

In 2016, the basic survey for potential sites and determination of the pilot plant location for WECs was carried out, as well as the conceptual design of the small WEC system, applicable to the breakwater, and the micro grid system with the independent source of WECs.

 10 MW wave-offshore wind hybrid system (left) & WEC applicable to breakwaters in remote island (right)


Arrayed Buoy Wave Energy Converter Adaptive to Wave Climate
The research and development project for the 1 MW arrayed-buoy wave energy converter, started in December 2016 with four years of project duration, is aimed at developing the basic design of an arrayed-buoy, the floating platform, and the swivel power cable system. The system will consist of the floating platform, the weather vanning mooring system, the Salter’s duck type wave energy converters, and the hydraulic power take-off system. Furthermore, the system will be equipped with the motion suppression mechanism to maximise the generated power from the array-buoy. The project is expected to be ended by 2020 after the sea trial near the Jeju Island.

MOF has been supporting construction projects of the open sea test bed for wave energy converters and tidal energy converters, respectively. The construction project for the wave energy converter started in May 2016. The western shore of Jeju Island was selected as the test site, where the Yongsoo OWC wave energy plant is installed nearby and utilized as the offshore substation. The project is expected to be finished by December 2019. Korea Research Institute of Ships & Ocean engineering (KRISO) has been in charge of developing the project. A number of cables from five different berths will be connected to the offshore substation and the grid system with the allowance capacity of 5 MW. The Floating Pendulum Wave Energy Converter (FPWEC), with the capacity of 300 KW, is expected to be tested in the fourth berth, with the water depth of 40 m, in 2017.

The construction project for the tidal wave energy converter, started at the end of 2016, is planning to build the open sea test bed with 5 berths of 4.5 MW grid-connected capacity, from May 2017 to December 2021. Furthermore, the performance test facility for components of tidal energy converters, such as blade and drive train, will be constructed in the project.


500 kW Yongsoo OWC Pilot Plant
The construction of the Yongsoo OWC pilot plant was completed in July 2016 and installed at 1.5 km away from the coastline of Jeju Island. The plant, equipped with impulse turbines and 250 kW generators, and grid-connected by the 22.9 KV AC underwater cable, is currently under the trial run. By analysing the early performance data from the trial run, the maximum efficiency for the OWC chamber, the turbine and the generator turned out to be equal to 52.7%, 40.0% and 91.7%, respectively.

INWave Onshore-Based WEC Plant
INWave™, developed by INGINE, is the onshore-based WEC whose key equipment is installed on land and the energy-absorbing unit is placed on water in close proximity to shoreline. This system holds economic feasibility as it does not require the undersea cable even in a small scale. Furthermore, it maximises the efficiency in shallow waters, by collecting the wave energy from multiple directions. Since the installation of its first 135 KW pilot plant on Jeju Island in late 2015, the plant has been in operation, connected to the power grid.

 500 kW Yongsoo OWC plant NWave onshore-based WEC plant

SUPRC 20 kW OTEC and 200 kW HOTEC Plants
Currently, the 20 KW OTEC and 200 KW HOTEC plants are in operation and conducting the performance test at the Sea Water Utilization Plant Research Centre, SUPRC, in Gangwon-do Goseoung-gun, a subsidiary research centre of KRISO dedicated to the deep-sea water application. The 20 kW OTEC plant uses 5ºC of deep-sea water as a heat sink and 26ºC of surface seawater as a heat source, and it exhibits the efficiency of 2.1%. While the 200 kW HOTEC plant also uses 5ºC deep sea water as heat sink, it utilizes readily available thermal energy resources like geothermal energy near the coast, waste heat from ships, woodchip gasification, and other types of nearby power plants to increase the heat source temperature up to 75ºC which exhibits the efficiency of 7.7%. Currently, KRISO is preparing to conduct a demonstration experiment to verify the validity of the thermal energy from 500Kw woodchip gasification plant for 200 kW HOTEC plant.

Heaving Semi-Spheres with Hinged Arm WEC Platform (Hwa Jin Co.)
The “30KW Heaving Semi-spheres with Hinged Arm WEC Platform” project was successfully concluded in 2016. This project has been developed by Hwa Jin Co. and funded by MOTIE. The project aimed to undertake a device development of a Jack-up type WEC platform with Hydraulic PTO system. The prototype has installed near Hupo-hang in the East Sea.

 Offshore 1 MW OTEC (left) , Heaving semi-sphere WEC with hinged arm (right)



Active-controlled Tidal Current Power Generation System
The project is aimed to develop and demonstrate the active-controlled, high efficiency and low cost 200 KW Tidal Energy Converter (TEC), with the operating capacity applicable to the shallow sea conditions (>20 m/s). The TEC was manufactured and its substructure was deployed by KIOST and HDEC in 2016. The remaining part of TEC is planned to be deployed in 2017 followed by performance demonstration of TEC between 2017 and 2018.

 200 kW active-controlled tidal energy converter in fabrication and installation of its substructure

Floating Pendulum Wave Energy Converter
Since 2012, the development project for the 300 KW wave energy converter has been carried out by KRISO with the support from MOF. In 2016, the construction of Floating Pendulum Wave Energy Converter (FPWEC), featured with a pendulum activated, high efficiency and high persistence rotary-vane hydraulic pump was completed and deployed to its operation site, waiting to be prepared for the sea test site. The FPWEC is planned to be tested at the open sea WEC test centre of Jeju in 2018.

Construction of 300 kW floating pendulum WEC

For the commercialization phase of the OTEC development, KRISO is in charge of manufacturing 1 MW OTEC demonstration plant. The plan is to complete the construction and perform the short-term operation in the east coast of South Korea by 2018, followed by transferring and conducting long-term operation in Tarawa, Kiribati, in 2019. In 2016, KRISO manufactured the 1.2 MW turbine generator, and investigated the external environmental force of the plant site in TARAWA for intake pipe installation. Furthermore, the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted for 1 MW OTEC plant. Based on the result of 1 MW OTEC plant operation in Tarawa, KRISO is planning to design and receive the Development Approval (DA) for the marine 1 MW OTEC plant and the AIP for the 10 MW OTEC plant.

There is no specific legislation for Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) alone, but legal base for offshore energy power production is governed and implemented by different national and domestic authorities.

Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries (MOF) holds Public Waters Management Act & Reclamation Act (Act No. 11690, 2013), which provides a framework and general law governing management of public waters during structure installation or usage. One may install a structure in accordance with either of the Acts, but depending on their governing laws, applicable management and requirements may differ.

Pre-selected areas for ocean energy have not been defined yet, although there are legal considerations to be made in the process of site selection primarily by the Public Water Management & Reclamation Act and Coast Management Act. Construction of demonstrative offshore wind turbine of Jeju Island was carried out based on the Assessment above.

The authorities involved in the consenting process are mainly federal authorities:

• Ministry of Environment;
• Minister of Ocean and Fisheries (MOF);
• Director of Regional Maritime Affairs & Port Office;
• City mayor;
• County governor;
• Urban district head.

There may be additional authorities involved depending on the size and purpose of marine space usage, such as the Minister of Agriculture & Forestry and the director of the regional construction office.

The consenting process can be classified into 2 levels. The first consenting level is for public waters management and reclamation which lasts for approximately 20-30 years after its development. The other consenting level is necessary for offshore construction only, which is a shorter process that lasts 2-3 years.

There is no specific authority responsible for the management of the ocean energy consenting process as a whole (“one stop shop” facility or entity).

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required before and after construction.

According to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, the targeted projects for EIA are electric power plan with 10,000kW of capacity, 100,000kW solar/wind power plant capacity, submarine mining site of 300,000m2, public water reclamation over 300,000m2 (over 30,000m2 in protected areas), etc. and projects of smaller scale are targeted to Prior Examination of Environmental Nature.

An EIA may be performed either by the developer or by the registered assessment agent and shall report within 30 days after each assessment. The entity responsible for decision making on requirement of an EIA is the Ministry of Environment.

As for the post-construction monitoring system, the agent for assessment shall report the record of performance to the agency for the assessment of environmental impacts of the preceding year to the Minister of Environment. This may continue for a minimum of 5 years after construction depending on the results.

The results of the EIA are disclosed to the public via an EIA database system (

Legislation and regulations related with the consenting process for ocean energy issued are:

• Regulation for ocean usage
- Public Waters Management Act;
- Public Waters Reclamation Act;

• Regulation for energy development
- Act on the Promotion of the Development, Use and Diffusion of New and Renewable Energy;
- Electric Source Development Promotion Act;
- Electric Utility Act;
- Framework Act on Low Carbon, Green Growth;
- Integrated Energy Supply Act;
- Submarine Mineral Resources Development Act.

• Regulation for marine ecosystem protection
- Fishery Resources Management Act;
- Environmental Impact Assessment Act;
- Conservation and Management of Marine Ecosystems Act,
- Marine Environment Management Act.

Consultation is required from a number of stakeholders in advance.

The mandatory consultees are the Ministry of Environment, the Management Agency of Public waters (including the MOF, Regional Maritime Affairs & Port Office, city mayor, county governor and urban district head), and the head of other related administrative agency depending on each consenting stage. These are as prescribed by Presidential Decree.

The most critical consultation that the developer should consider is the residents’ agreement. As for the public sector, in the process of obtaining the Use Permit of Public Waters, as prescribed by the Presidential Decree, the developer should disclose the information to local residents during more than 20 days, and hold an explanatory meeting or a public hearing if more than 30 people require it. The signed agreement from the inhabitants in the area must be included in the documents for the Use Permit of Public Waters, thus the entire process may be deterred at this stage if the developer fails in reaching an agreement.