Korea unveils world’s largest tidal power plant
Published : Aug 29, 2011 - 19:30
Updated : Aug 29, 2011 - 19:30
Korea introduced the world’s largest tidal power plant on Monday, eight years after it broke ground for a project aimed at boosting renewable energy use.

The facilities in Sihwa on the western outskirts of Seoul will enter full-fledged operation in December with a total capacity of 520 megawatts, the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said. Annual output will reach 552 million kilowatt hour, sufficient to supply a city of 500,000 residents at all times.

The government has spent nearly 496 billion won ($462 million) since 2003 for the project.

In August, it put some generators into operation to meet spiking power demand in the summer after four months of a test-run.

“The Sihwa plant has significance as the first of its kind in the country and in that it has overcome many difficulties such as tidal forces and underwater rock excavation during the construction period,” the ministry said in a statement.

The government expects to save 94.2 billion won annually by cutting energy imports and another 6.6 billion won a year by curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Korea has been promoting clean energy as part of a “low carbon, green growth” initiative. It aims to slash 30 percent of emissions below business-as-usual projections by 2020.

The world’s fifth-largest oil importer also wants to raise the ratio of renewable energy of the total consumption to 11 percent by 2030 from 2.4 percent in 2008, for which the latest data available.

By Shin Hyon-hee (