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Posted : 2010-01-20 21:48
Updated : 2010-01-20 21:48

Incheon to House Largest Tidal Power Plant

By Kim Hyun-cheol
Staff Reporter

The state-run Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) signed a memorandum of understanding with GS Engineering & Construction, Wednesday, to build what could be the world's largest tidal power plant.

Construction of the 1,320-megawatt power plant, which will be built in Incheon Bay on the west coast, will start in the second half of next year KHNP said. The 3.9 trillion won ($3.4 billion) facility is scheduled to be completed in June 2017.

All of the expenses will be covered through private investment.

Once built in waters south of Ganghwa Island, the plant is likely to be one of the world's largest tidal power plants.

Its capacity is similar to that of the APR1400, the country's first nuclear power reactor to be exported, and will be more than five times the size of the world's current biggest tidal plant.

France's Rance Plant, the world's first tidal power station, has 240-megawatt capacity, and the Sihwa Lake facility in Gyeonggi Province, which will be completed at the end of this year, will have a 254-megawatt capacity.

The Incheon Bay Plant will produce 2.41 billion kilowatts of electricity annually from 44 30,000-kilowatt generators - an amount equal to that produced from 3.54 million barrels of crude oil. This will provide 60 percent of household electricity consumption in Incheon.

The plan is based on a research project for maritime energy development by the Ministry of Land, Transportation and Maritime Affairs started in 2006.

Controversy over the project, however, is expected to continue over its environmental impact on the ecosystem in the region.

Local civic groups have been criticizing the plan since its initial announcement last year, asserting that the massive construction will destroy vast areas of wetland on the west coast.

KHNP said it will create artificial wetlands and fields of reeds using by-products of the construction. Key bird habitats in the region will also be protected by creating alternative breeding sites, it added.

hckim@koreatimes.co.kr
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