Alternative Energy Korea: World's Largest Tidal Power Plant
Korean Red Crowned Crane
According to Korea's Donga.com this November, the construction of the world’s largest tidal power plant will begin at Ansan City’s Shihwa Lake in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, and next year, the construction of an experimental current power plant will start in Haenam County at Uldol-mok.
The Korean Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) announced on September 30 that it will hold a ground-breaking ceremony for the Shihwa tidal power plant that will be constructed in Daebu-dong, Ansan City in November, and is scheduled to be completed in 2009.
The Shihwa tidal power plant will be able to generate 254,000 kW per hour using the flow of seawater into Shihwa Lake, which is above that of the La Rance power plant of France (200,000 kW per hour), the current biggest tidal power plant, and matches the total electricity demand of Ansan City’s 500,000 population.
The assumed construction cost is 355.1 billion won (approximately US $312m), and the Korea Water Resources Corporation will provide the total amount.
Kim Jin-oh, the deputy director of the Korea Energy Economics Institute, explained, “With the construction cost of the Shihwa tidal power plant, you could build a 340,000 kW coal thermoelectric power plant, a 450,000 kW diesel thermoelectric power plant, and a 670,000 kW LNG thermoelectric power plant,” and added, “A tidal power plant has the merit of no additional fuel costs.”
According to Deputy Director Kim, the estimated price per kW of the tidal power plant is about 100 won (8.8 US cents), a competitive price compared to the currently used alternative energy source, wind power (107 won).
The MMAF has decided to experimentally set up a current power plant, which generates energy by turning a hydraulic turbine with rapidly flowing seawater at Uldol-mok and they are currently developing the equipment. Uldol-mok is a bottleneck with a width of 300m and a maximum water speed of 6.5m per second, which makes it the best-suited location for a power plant. The Uldol-mok power plant will generate 1,000W per hour and will be put into operation by 2007. The MMAF is researching and developing a wave power plant which uses the force and drop of waves to generate electricity from a hydraulic turbine, and a seawater temperature difference power plant which uses the temperature difference of the outer layer and inner layer of seawater. Yeom Gi-dae, a senior researcher of the Korean Ocean Research and Development Institute under the MMAF, said, “The endowed maritime energy is above 14 million kW, over 20 percent of 2002’s domestic generation equipment capacity (50 million kW), and unlike hydroelectric, thermoelectric, and nuclear power, there is little environmental damage,” and emphasized the need for the active development of this technology.
As I've previously said tidal power and wave power have huge potential throughout the world - a lot more effort and attention needs to be focused on developing these resources.
Larger Picture of Korean Red Crowned Crane