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South Korea - A technological powerhouse

South Korea is a highly developed country with a globally connected, high-tech society. It is one of the world’s most innovative countries and a global leader in many technology and innovation-driven fields.

© Brady Bellini / unsplash.com

Although the Korean peninsula has a few rivers flowing west and south, which seem advantageous to hydropower generation, there are significant challenges. There are high seasonal variations in the weather and most of the rainfall occurs in the summer. Installed hydropower capacity is about 6,489 MW and annual hydropower generation is some 7,273 GWh as of 2018. The hydropower fleet comprises 1,789 MW of pure hydropower and a further 4,700 MW of pumped storage.

Today, as the potential for conventional hydropower generation is almost fully exploited, Korea is focusing on additional hydro resources, such as tidal energy power generation. South Korea has already built the largest tidal power plant in the world at Sihwa Lake. This tidal lake power plant has a total capacity of 254 MW with an annual power generation of 543 GWh. It is managed and operated by K-water, a government agency that develops and manages water resources and water supply facilities in Korea. It is still a lighthouse project for ocean energy exploitation worldwide.

Sihwa has a total output of 254 MW and is therefore the largest tidal power plant in the world, having an annual power generation of 543 GWh.

© K-Water

Many hydropower plants in the country were built about 40 to 50 years ago and are in need of modernization work in order to improve their performance, efficiency and output. This requirement represents an interesting business opportunity.

ANDRITZ Hydro in South Korea

First equipment deliveries to South Korea had already taken place in the early 1930s, although there was a break due to the political and economic situation. Nonetheless, in total, ANDRITZ has delivered and/or rehabilitated about 40 units with a total installed capacity of more than 1,000 MW to South Korea. The largest of these projects are Cheongsong (2 × 306 MW) and Sihwa (10 × 25.4 MW). Since the beginning of this millennium, ANDRITZ has also won some important orders in the South Korean market.

Andong (90 MW): K-water awarded ANDRITZ with a refurbishment contract for the hydropower plant. Two turbine-generator sets, each with an output of 45 MW, were completed in mid-2019. In September 2019, the opening ceremony of the power plant was celebrated in the presence of K-water's CEO.

Namgang, Namgang River, 18 MW

© K-Water

Namgang (18 MW): In 2016, ANDRITZ contracted with K-water for the refurbishment of the entire hydropower plant. The existing units 2 × 7 MW were changed to 2 × 9 MW.

Hwacheon (27 MW): KHNP awarded the rehabilitation work for unit #4 of the Hwacheon hydropower plant to ANDRITZ. One turbine-generator set with an output of 27 MW is to be modernized by mid-2021.

Sihwa tidal power plant, Sihwa Lake Dam

© K-Water

Sihwa (254 MW): In 2005, ANDRITZ received a contract from Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd. for the electro-mechanical equipment of the Sihwa tidal power plant, located at the Sihwa Lake Dam. The scope of supply comprised the design of 10 Bulb turbine-generator units and their ancillaries, delivery of core components for turbines and generators, the automation system, supervision of the site installation and commissioning.

General Facts

Access to electricity:51.6 million
Installed hydro capacity:100%
Hydropower under construction:6,489 MW incl. PSPP
Share of generation from hydropower:1.3%
Hydro generation per year:7,273 GWh
Technically feasible hydro generation potential per year:26,389 GWh
Total installed/ rehabilitated units:40
Total installed/ rehabilitated capacity:1,000 MW

Author: Kim Minchan

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