The Ulsan floating offshore wind project will have a capacity of 1.5GW (Representative image). Credit: iweta0077/
The Ulsan Gray Whale floating offshore wind project will be one of the largest floating offshore wind farms in the world (Representative image). Credit: New Africa/
RWE and Ulsan City signed a memorandum of understanding to co-operate in the development of floating offshore wind projects. Credit: RWE.

The Ulsan floating offshore wind project is being developed by BadaEnergy, a joint venture (JV) of offshore wind company Corio Generation, which is a Green Investment Group (GIG) portfolio company; TotalEnergies; and renewable energy solutions provider SK ecoplant.

The 1.5GW project, also known as the Gray Whale floating offshore wind project, will be one of the largest floating offshore wind farms in the world, upon completion.

The phased construction of the project is scheduled to begin in 2025 while first full commercial operation is scheduled for 2028.

Once operational, the project will can produce enough electricity to power more than 1.5 million homes, while minimising CO₂ emissions by approximately 2.3 million tonnes a year.

The project will also provide employment opportunities locally and utilise the local supply chain in Ulsan in a bid to revive the offshore industries of Korea.

Location of the Ulsan wind project

The project will be located in public waters, approximately 60km east of Ulsan Port in South Korea. The water depth in the location is 150m.

Background of the Ulsan offshore project

The installation of Korea’s first floating light detection and ranging (LiDAR) system was completed by GIG in April 2020, marking the initial development phase of the project. The LiDAR system was used to collect wind resource data, including wind speed and direction, to assist in addressing the environmental impact of the project.

The Electricity Regulatory Committee under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy granted the electric business licence (EBL) for the first phase of the Gray Whale project in July 2021.

The project will support the South Korean Government’s Renewable Energy 3020 implementation plan announced in 2017, with the goal of producing 20% of its energy demand from renewable sources by 2030.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between renewable energy company RWE and Ulsan City in November 2021 to co-operate in the development of the project. The MOU was signed in support of South Korea’s Net Zero 2050 ambition, with the country aiming to increase its offshore wind capacity by up to 12GW.

Ulsan floating offshore wind project details

The Ulsan floating offshore wind project will be developed in three phases, namely the Ulsan Gray Whale 1, 2 and 3 wind farms. Each phase will have an installed capacity of 500MW.

Development of Gray Whale 3 is currently in progress and is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2026. It will be equipped with 33 units of Vestas wind turbines.

The floating foundations will be designed using Technip Energies’ three-column semi-submersible floater technology INO15™ with a capacity of 15MW.

Contractors involved

A consortium of Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Doris Engineering was awarded the FEED contract for the floating units of Grey Whale 3, including the design, procurement and installation of the floaters and their station-keeping systems in August 2023.

Doris Engineering is also executing a separate FEED contract for Grey Whale 3’s full electrical and communications system to the grid connection, including array and export cabling, and all aspects of the fixed offshore substation foundation and topside structure.

Technip Energies, Samkang M&T and Subsea 7 were awarded the FEED contract for the floater, mooring and inter-array cables for the Gray Whale 3 in August 2023.

The front-end engineering design (FEED) contract for the onshore power supply system for the Gray Whale 3 was awarded to engineering company KEPCO E&C in June 2023. The scope of work includes onshore cable route design and onshore substations.

Turbine supplier, Vestas was selected as the preferred wind turbine supplier for Gray Whale 3 in March 2023.

Testing, inspection, and certification provider Bureau Veritas in partnership with the Korean Register (KR) was appointed to lead the project certification of the Gray Whale 3 in November 2022. The scope of work included conformity assessments related to design, manufacturing, transportation, installation, and operation, including a review of the FEED.