The first phase of commercial-scale offshore wind development planned for waters off the island of Jeju looks set to be delayed, following intervention by the South Korean Ministry of National Defense.
The South Korean press has reported that offshore wind projects planned for both the Saemangeum and Daejeong regions pose a threat to air force radar, according to the ministry. They cannot be built unless "stealth" paint is applied to the turbines to reduce interference, says the ministry.
It is not yet clear how South Korea's emerging offshore wind industry will respond to the military's argument, which has both technical and cost implications for a series of Jeju island projects. The self-governing island has adopted an offshore wind capacity target of 380MW by 2016, but has no commercial-scale capacity installed to date.
Amongst the offshore wind farms likely to be affected by the defense ministry's announcement is an 84MW project within the Daejeong cluster, being developed jointly by Samsung Heavy Industries and Korea Southern Power Corporation. Samsung is due to install its yet-to-be-completed 7MW offshore turbine.