Annual Report 2014
Country Reports


Keyyong Hong, Hoyoon Kim Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering



The strategic plan of ocean energy development of the Republic of Korea (ROK) used to be based on “The 3rd National Plan for Technology Development, Use and Diffusion of New and Renewable Energy,” which includes the national vision, long term goal, strategy, and action plan for new and renewable energy development for the period of 2009 to 2030. The goal for ocean energy distribution was forecasted to reach 4.7% in 2030, but the newly updated “The 4th New and Renewable Energy Master Plan 2014-2035”, released in September 2014, has significantly lowered the goal to 1.6% until 2025, and 1.3% in 2035. Although the distribution goal for ocean energy was lowered down to 1.6%, the 2nd National Energy Master Plan states that the overall distribution goal for new and renewable energy increases. It was pointed out that ocean energy had difficulty in reaching its original goal due to stronger restriction towards environmental protection and reluctance of local residents.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) has published the “Mid-Term and Long-Term Clean Ocean Energy Development Plan 2016-2025” in order to review the ocean energy development technology area of ROK. Its main purpose is to set up a relevant R&D support plan based on the observation and seek more efficient roads towards renewable energy distribution. Meanwhile, MOF is updating the ocean energy R&D roadmap, which is to be released in 2015, where they plan to:

  • Enhance the infrastructures and accelerate commercial development;
  • Plan open sea testing facilities for wave and current devices;
  • Collaboration with South Pacific islands for OTEC.


Currently, there is no explicit legislation and regulation dedicated to ocean energy alone, but there are national acts for renewable energy development overall. There is 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.” Also there is the “Energy Act” for national acts on energy and various regulatory measures for marine environment protection such as the “Framework Act on Marine Fishery Development” and the “Marine Environment Management Act.”

However, 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 (MOTIE) can enforce obligatory appliance of renewable energy resources for public buildings. As ocean thermal energy for air conditioning is approved to be one of the renewable energy resources, it is currently under the process of testing the actual use of ocean thermal energy powered air conditioning before its actual utilization. Public buildings are called up for the test until January 2015.

The Renewable Portfolio Standard, or the RPS, was initiated in 2012 and was enforced in 13 utility companies with capacity over 500 MW. According to the regulation, 3% of the total electricity production was from renewable energy in 2014.

The tradable Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is a policy that supplements the RPS policy. The value of REC policy varies depending on the type of generated resource and other factors such as distance from coastline, capacity or installation method. For instance, the REC of a tidal barrage with embankment is 1.0, while the one without embankment is 2.0. REC has not been determined for other ocean energies yet. However, the ocean thermal energy for air conditioning purposes is currently under the process of becoming an obligatory method for public buildings.

The main funding institutions are MOF and MOTIE. The public funding for renewable ocean energy is led by the combination of the two government ministries above mentioned, which operate the national RD&D programme for ocean energy. MOF funds mainly demonstration projects under the “Practical Ocean Energy Technology Development Programme,” while MOTIE is in charge of the fundamental R&D projects under the “New and Renewable Technology Development Programme”. Participation of private sectors has been continuously increasing in ocean energy development sector recently as well.

The education programme for training professional human resources in the ocean energy development sector is soon to be launched in ROK. It is the second step of Ocean Energy Human Resources Development Research carried out by the Korean Institute of Marine Science & Technology Promotion (KIMST). After the first phase of the project was carried out from 2009 to 2013, the project entered its second phase from 2014 to 2018. While the first phase concentrated solely on the field of ocean energy, the second phase expanded the realm to include the study of offshore plants, or the field of ocean energy infrastructures. Two institutes of Inha University and Korea Maritime and Ocean University have been selected as recipients of the programme and will carry out specialized education courses, R&D, and scholarship programmes for students, each concentrating on ocean energy and offshore plants.


The sea test sites are currently being planned, but there is no active sea test site that is open for use in ROK. However, a feasibility study for the construction of test beds for wave and tidal energy devices has been carried out, and also there are plans to utilize the newly built demonstration 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.