Country Reports


The national strategy for the development of ocean energy systems 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 systems.

Last year, the Korean Government announced the new “Action Plan for Renewable Energy Policy 3020” for reducing the footprint of fossil fuel by sharing up to 20% of a total national electricity demand from renewable energies, such as wind and solar, by 2030. The MOF has also clarified the goal by confirming a new plan for developing and disseminating the ocean energy systems in “2030 Ocean Energy Development Plan” to meet the Government’s new energy policy. This new plan includes a construction of 1.5 GW ocean energy infrastructures and promotion of new industries in the ocean energy systems by cultivating specialized companies and establishing supply chains. In order to construct a 1.5 GW ocean energy infrastructure additionally by 2030, it plans to build new infrastructures including wave energy systems of 220 MW, hybrid power generation systems of 300 MW, and tidal energy systems of 700 MW on the existing Sihwa Lake tidal power plant of 254 MW.

The renewable portfolio standard (RPS) 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 values of REC are currently given as 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 is currently conducting research to adjust the value of REC for the tidal energy systems and to decide the new REC values for WEC and OTEC in order to promote the active participation in the ocean energy development from major companies.

MOF and MOTIE provide public funding for ocean energy R&D, as well as demonstration projects. They invested a total of USD 200 million for ocean energy technology development projects from 2000 to 2017. 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”.



Wave Energy Converter with Energy Storage System Applicable to Breakwaters on Remote Island
The present research project is aimed to establish the commercializing foundation for the ocean energy by developing wave energy converters and the integrated energy storage system (ESS), applicable to the breakwaters in harbours and ports on remote islands. Conceptual and basic designs of the wave power generation system were carried out from 2016 to 2017. Since most of the breakwaters are sloped, an oscillating water column (OWC) with sloped shape was designed. Numerical and model tests showed that the sloped OWC has acceptable performance compared to the existing vertically installed OWCs. A high efficient turbine was developed by applying a ring to an impulse turbine. A permanent magnet synchronous generator (PMSG) and connected power conditioning system (PCS) were developed taking into consideration of the maintenance and the mitigation of vibration and noise of the system. The ESS and micro gird system was implemented by analysing the electrical environment of the installation site, Chu-ja Island of Korea.

WEC applicable to breakwaters on remote island
Model tests for the OWC & impulse turbine


Tidal Current and Pumped Storage Hybrid Power Generation
The present research project is aimed to develop a tidal current and pumped storage hybrid power generation system, which is combined with the dual flapping type system as tidal current generator. The flapping type tidal current generator in the changed power transmission of vertical arrangement can be applied to pump seawater through its mechanical power, which becomes a new concept in hybrid power generations.

The development period for this project is approximately three years and is supported by the New & Renewable Energy R&D programme of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant funded by MOTIE. The main research contents for this project are (1) the development of design technology for the tidal current and pumped storage hybrid power generation system and (2) the demonstration of indoor and outdoor experiments for the tidal current pumped storage hybrid power generation system.

A schematic of the tidal current and pumped storage hybrid power generation system

Design and Performance Test of Tidal Turbine for Self-Sufficient Energy Bridge
Around long span offshore bridges between islands or island and mainland, there are abundant ocean energy resources such as tidal current and wind induced waves. Especially strong current is induced near the bridge area owing to the narrow channel where water flow can concentrate. The goal of this project is to develop an optimal tidal energy converter for supplying electricity from tidal energy into the bridge and to commercialize the zero emission bridge technology to reduce operational costs for energy consumption and environmental effects. The tidal current power system is being designed to be suitable for the bridge, and it includes tidal energy converter (turbine, duct, generator, etc.), buoyancy tank, ESS for load levelling, and comprehensive control and monitoring system. This project is being carried out for 3 years from 2015 to 2018 with the financial support of KETEP by Korea Marine Equipment Research Institute (KOMERI). In 2017, the design and manufacture of the ducted tidal energy converter, floating body, power converter and monitoring system were completed. The open sea test is scheduled for March 2018. This technology is expected to accelerate the commercialization of tidal energy converters that facilitate the construction at low cost compared to the existing systems and the application not only for the bridge but also the discharge channels of power plants, rivers and island areas for isolated grid.


          Long span bridge on narrow channel                                                                             Conceptual design


MOF has been supporting construction projects of the open sea test sites for wave energy converters and tidal energy converters. The construction project of test center 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. The Yongsoo OWC will be utilized as the offshore substation for the open sea test site. 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. KRISO surveyed and designed the cable routes from the offshore substation to each berth in 2016. The consenting process for ocean space occupation and electrical connection started in 2017. The cables and offshore substation will be constructed in 2018. 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 2018.


Open sea test site for wave energy converters

The construction project for open sea test bed with 5 berths of 4.5 MW grid connected capacity for the tidal energy converters is being carried out from May 2017 to December 2021 by KIOST. Furthermore, the performance test facility for components of tidal energy converters, such as blade and drive train, will also be constructed in this project. The southwestern waters of Korean peninsula are primarily considered as the tidal energy test site, where the Uldolmok tidal current pilot plant is installed nearby.


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.

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 at Goseong-gun, Gangwon-do, a subsidiary research base of KRISO dedicated to seawater and thermal energy 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 of 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 a 500 kW woodchip gasification plant for 200 kW HOTEC plant


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 (about 20 m). The TEC was manufactured by KIOST and its caisson-type substructure was designed, fabricated, and deployed by Hyundai Engineering and Construction 2016. In 2017, the performance of PMSG and main drive train was evaluated using a portable dynamo test facility, and the internal communication system and the active rudder device for automatic and passive yaw control have been also tested in indoor and underwater environments. The TEC will be installed at the Uldolmok test site for open sea test in early 2018.


Dynamo test for PMSG and drive train of 200 kW TEC


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. In 2017, the remote operating and monitoring system was tested and optimized. The FPWEC is planned to be tested using the forth berth of the open sea WEC test site on Jeju Island in mid-2018.


300 kW Floating pendulum wave energy converter in port


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 installation on a barge and perform the short-term operation in the eastern coast of South Korea by 2019, followed by transferring and construction as on-land type to conduct long-term operation at South Tarawa, Kiribati, in 2020. Until 2017, KRISO manufactured the 1.2 MW turbine generator and condensers, etc., and investigated the external environmental force of the plant site in South 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 1 MW OTEC plant and the AIP for the 10 MW OTEC plant for multi-purpose industrialization.

Offshore 1 MW OTEC
On-land 1MW O


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.