129 OES Annual Report 2015 | REPUBLIC OF KOREA | Ocean energy policy
Annual Report 2015
Country Reports


Keyyong Hong Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering

As the mid and long term plan for the clean ocean energy development was newly established with the purpose of enhancing the competitiveness in the world market, and stimulating the supply of ocean energy, the strategic plan was proposed. The objective of the strategic plan is strengthening the support policy and securing the infrastructure plan. Especially, as the tidal current power has been newly included in the REC, the supply is expected to be stimulated. The funding on the development of the renewable energy is increasing under the control of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. In addition, the funding is focused on demonstration projects, and such projects are in progress, including the 300kW FPWEC, the 200kW ACHAT, and 200kW HOTEC.


The strategic plan for the “Mid-Term and Long-Term Clean Ocean Energy Development plan 2015 2025”has been recently established, which includes the national vision, long term goal, strategy, and an action plan for the new and renewable energy development for the period between 2015 and 2025. The strategy plan, which has been jointly developed by the MOF (Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries) and MOTIE (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy), was approved by the National Science and Technology Council in 2015.

The main objectives of the strategic plan are to set up a relevant R&D support programme, and to seek more efficient ways towards the ocean energy distribution. Meanwhile, the MOF updated the ocean energy R&D roadmap during 2015, where they planned to:

  • Reinforce the infrastructures and accelerate the commercial development ;
  • Organise the open sea testing facilities for wave and current devices;
  • Collaborate with South Pacific Islands for the OTEC.

The initial target set before for the ocean energy distribution has significantly reduced down to 1.6% by 2025. Although the targeted distribution for the ocean energy was reduced, the second national energy master plan states that the overall targeted distribution for the new and renewable energy is increasing. It had been indicated that the ocean energy had difficulty of reaching its initial targeted value, due to stronger restrictions towards the environmental protection and reluctance of local residents.

Although there is no explicit legislation or regulation related to the ocean energy itself, the action towards the development of the renewable energy by the nation is in progress, with documents such as the “Framework Act on Low Carbon, Green Growth”, and the “Act on the Promotion of the Development, Use and Diffusion of New and Renewable Energy”. In addition, there is the “Energy Act” for national acts on the energy and various regulatory measures for the marine environment protection, such as the “Framework Act on Marine Fishery Development” and the “Marine Environment Management Act”.

Based on the “Act on the Promotion of the Development, Use and Diffusion of New and Renewable Energy”, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy could enforce the obligatory appliance of the renewable energy resources for public buildings. The thermal ocean energy for the air conditioning was approved to be one of the renewable energy resources, executing the renewable installation institution for public buildings in 2015.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) began in 2012, and was enforced in 13 utility companies with the capacity of over 500MW. According to the regulation, the renewable energy participated with 3.5% in the total electricity production in 2015.

The tradable Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is a market incentive that supplements the RPS policy. The value of REC varies depending on the type of generated resources and other factors, such as distance from coastline, capacity or installation method. For example, the REC of a tidal barrage with embankment is 1.0, while the tidal barrage without embankment and tidal current is 2.0s. RECs for the wave energy and thermal ocean energy still have to be determined.

The price of the renewable energy for a domestic market is determined by the summation of the REC price and the System Marginal Price (SMP). As of March 2015, the price of the SMP and REC is 11 cents/kWh and 8 cents/kWh 

The MOF and MOTIE provide public funding for RD&D and installation promotion programmes for the renewables, including the ocean energy. The RD&D programme of MOF mainly funds demonstration projects under the “Practical Ocean Energy Technology Development Programme,” while the MOTIE is responsible for the fundamental R&D projects under the “New and Renewable Technology Development Programme”. In addition, the MOTIE runs/manages the renewable installation promotion programme, where it partly funds the installation of the renewable related facilities. However, at the moment, ocean energy is not being considered as the part of the programme.

Although there is no specific legislation for the marine spatial planning alone, the legal base for the offshore energy power production is governed and implemented by different national and domestic authorities. The MOF has the Public Water Management & Reclamation Act (Act No. 11690, 2013), and it provides the framework and the general law governing the management of public water when installing the structure or using it. One may install a structure in accordance with either of the Acts, but depending on their governing laws, applicable management requirements may differ. Preselected area for ocean energy has not been defined yet, although there are legal considerations to be made in the process of site selecting primarily by the Public Water Management & Reclamation Act and Coast Management Act. Construction of the demonstrative offshore wind turbine of Jeju Island was carried out based on the assessment above mentioned.

The consenting process can be classified in to 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. In general, the procedures below follow the steps of the demonstrative offshore wind turbine project held on Jeju Island.

  • Consenting process for use permit for public water (3-year process)
    The initial step that the developer must take is to prepare the draft for consultation on utilization of sea areas according to the Marine Environment Management Act. Depending on the location of the project, the developer shall submit the draft of summaries of the business plan, environment of area, impact forecast/analysis, possible impact to stakeholders and compensation, alternative solution, etc., to the regional authorities and residents for their consultation and approval. After the authorizing institution gives approval to the business plan, the developer shall proceed to the Marine Environmental Impact Assessment. The developer then must obtain permission for occupancy or use of public waters from the management agency of public waters, as prescribed by the presidential degree (Act No. 11690, 2013).
  • Consenting process for permit for energy development (1-year process) During the pre-construction stage, a business license shall be obtained from the MOTIE with consultation from Korea Power Exchange (KPX) and Korea Electric Corporation (KEPCO). In case one intends to run an electric utility, the developer shall obtain license to generate by type of the electric utility from the Minister of MOTIE (Electric Utility Act). The electric source developer shall establish an execution plan for electric source development business, and shall obtain authorization from the MOTIE when they are generating more than 3,000kW. If lower than 3,000kW, permission can be obtained from the governor of the region. Then, the developer should obtain permission for the actual construction of the offshore structure from both MOTIE and local government. After the grid connection, the developer must demonstrate, test and report for starting new business.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 
    EIA is required before and after construction according to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, the Framework Act on Environmental Policy, and the Marine Environment Management Act, depending on the scale and location of development. According to the Environment Impact Assessment Act, the target projects for EIA are electric power plants with capacity of 10,000kW, solar/wind power plants of 100,000kW, submarine mining sites of 300,000 m2, public water reclamations over 300,000 m2 (over 30,000 m2 in protected area) etc. and projects of smaller scale are target of Prior Examination of Environmental Nature. As for the post-construction monitoring system, an 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.
  • Public Consultation
    Public consultation is required from a number of stakeholders in advance. These include the Ministry of Environment and the management agency of public waters such as the Minister of MOF, regional maritime affairs & port office, city mayor, county governor and urban district head. The most critical consultation that the developer should consider is the agreement of residents. In the process of obtaining the Use Permit of Public Waters, as prescribed by Presidential Decree, the developer should circulate the information to local residents for 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 to reach an agreement.


The feasibility study for the construction of test beds for the wave and the tidal energy devices has been carried out, which mainly details plans to utilize the newly built demonstrative ocean energy plant sites as possible sea test sites. The areas that are suggested to be used as test beds include the Uldolmok tidal power plant, Yongsoo OWC wave energy plant on Jeju Island, and Goseong ocean thermal energy plant.

There is no active sea test site that is currently open for use in the Republic of Korea (ROK). However, a construction of the wave energy test bed of 5MW capacity with 5 berths will begin in 2016.