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South Korea still heavily dependent on wind turbine imports

24. February 2022

Back in February 2021, South Korea declared that it would become one of the world’s top five players in offshore wind turbines. However, it was recently revealed that the country continues to import much of the technology or turbines and South Korean companies are finding it difficult to compete with imports. According to experts, this is due to the government’s hurried implementation of energy and environmental targets instead of proceeding in steps. According to figures from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the share of domestically produced wind turbines fell by 12 per cent to 58.4 per cent from a figure of 70.4 per cent in 2016, while the market share of imported turbines rose from 29.6 per cent to 87.8 per cent at present during the same period. Many components and production equipment required for wind turbine manufacturing must undergo KC certification or KCs certification to be approved in Korea.



In particular, the market share of key components such as wind turbine blades and generators from domestic production was only 34 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, while for complete turbines around half of all components come from South Korea. In the period from 2016 to 2019, the number of companies from South Korea operating in the wind turbine sector also fell from 28 to 18, while the number of employees decreased from 1,718 to 1,545. Instead, many companies decided to move abroad, which is also illustrated by the figures for sales generated abroad. For example, from 2016 to 2019, this figure more than doubled to KRW 811.8 billion from KRW 348.9 billion.

Currently, 74 per cent of South Korea’s wind turbine technology is in the hands of leading industrial companies. For suppliers, the figure is between 60 and 90 per cent. These companies are already capable of producing wind turbines with a capacity of 8 MW and are working on 10 MW turbines. Local companies, on the other hand, produce 5 MW turbines and are developing 8 MW turbines. Companies from the European Union and China have been able to reduce their turbine prices for offshore wind turbines by KRW 200 million (USD 166,300) per MW in the past two years by further developing the technology. On the other hand, prices from South Korean manufacturers remained almost unchanged over the identical period.

South Korea is considered one of the most important and innovative industrial nations in the world. In order to gain market access to this highly technological country, products imported into South Korea must be tested and certified. The KC mark or certificate is roughly equivalent to the European CE mark and applies to 730 different products. MPR International GmbH has solid experience in Korea certification and competent local partners. We will be pleased to advise you without obligation about the scope and procedure of a Korea certification.

Feel free to contact us any time if you need assistance or have any questions regarding Korean certifications like KC, KC EMC, KCs, KCs for explosion safety products or KGS factory registration.

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MPR Author

About the author: Verena Numssen is managing director of MPR International GmbH
Publisher: MPR International GmbH

Tel.: +49 69 271 37 69 261