SK E&S, the green energy division of South Korean conglomerate SK Group, has been named preferred bidder for a $415m floating solar farm on the country’s south coast.
The 200MW plant will consist of about 2.5 million sq m of photovoltaic panels able to power about 55,000 households.
Work will begin next summer, with completion scheduled for early 2023.
The facility is being commissioned by the Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency (SDIA), a state agency set up to develop Saemangeum, an area of reclaimed land at the mouths of the Dongjin and Mangyeong Rivers.
SK E&S’ project is part of a bigger plan to build solar farms with a combined output of 2.1GW solar power plant in the area.
The deal with the SDIA requires SK E&S to help economic development in other ways, as well.
It will invest $85m in establishing a business incubator for some 300 companies, and it will install an underwater fibre-optic cable network to improve telecoms.
In the longer term, the company will build a data centre to service its sister company SK Broadband, bringing SK E&S total investment in the region to $1.7bn.
The project of creating Saemangeum began in 1991, but was slowed by a series of court actions by environmentalists, who argued that the project would remove the habitat from some 400,000 migratory birds that stop over to feed en route to Africa or Siberia.Â Â
The 400 sq km of reclaimed land is protected by a dam and a 33km seawall.
Image: Saemangeum is protected by the world’s longest seawall (Kimhs5400/CC BY-SA 4.0)