Fellow Koreans, residents of Jeollabuk-do and Gunsan citizens,
Today, the Republic of Korea’s new 1000-year energy history will begin here in Saemangeum of Jeolla-do, a province celebrating the millennial anniversary of its founding.
Today’s Saemangeum renewable energy vision declaration ceremony is to proclaim that Saemangeum, Jeollabuk-do, will become a genuine hub of the Republic of Korea’s renewable energy industry.
Despite difficulties lingering over the past 27 years, the world’s largest solar photovoltaic power generation complex and a large-scale offshore wind energy farm will be constructed in Saemangeum. This is an ambitious plan utilizing some special-purpose restricted districts, unused land, sea dikes, reservoirs and the sea.
Saemangeum’s sunlight will become a driving force for the Republic of Korea’s advancement. Saemangeum’s wind will become a resource for ushering in a brighter future.
Jeollabuk-do Governor Song Ha-jin and Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency Administrator Lee Cheol-woo have just presented their grand aspirations and visions. As I listened to them, I felt overwhelmed with excitement and emotions.
Jeollabuk-do residents’ long-awaited goal is now becoming a reality. Saemangeum is being transformed into a symbol of reconciliation and prosperity overcoming conflict. It is becoming a new hub for balanced regional development. I am truly grateful to the provincial residents for having persevered and waited for such a long period. I offer them my congratulations.
My appreciation also goes to the Provincial Government of Jeollabuk-do and the Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency for their dedication and endeavors in the process of pushing for Saemangeum development projects and orchestrating and preparing a renewable energy vision.
Jeollabuk-do residents and Gunsan citizens,
At last year’s Maritime Day ceremony, I promised to significantly speed up the pace of Saemangeum development projects. I made it clear that major land reclamation projects would be led by the public sector instead of the private sector and such key components of the infrastructure as a new port and roads would be expanded as soon as possible to turn Saemangeum into the nexus of the Pan Yellow Sea Economic Bloc.
To honor the promise, my Administration established the Saemangeum Development and Investment Corporation in September this year.
I urge the Saemangeum Development and Investment Corporation to expedite public sector-led development of Saemangeum that lives up to the expectations of provincial residents. I hope it will become the main engine for advancing Saemangeum development by identifying sustainable new industries of the future.
When the Government and the Province unite their wills, Saemangeum’s opportunities and potential will lead to genuine prosperity, thereby opening the future of another millennium for Jeollabuk-do.
Fellow Koreans, people of Jeollabuk-do and citizens of Gunsan,
Renewable energy is healthy energy that ensures public safety and new growth industries that help open a new future.
The world has already entered the era of renewable energy. As of last year, the percentage of power generation from renewable resources among OECD countries reached 25 percent, and in the case of China, it exceeded 25 percent. In addition, about 73 percent of power generation facilities newly built by OECD members last year had renewable energy as their source, which clearly shows the impetus on expanding renewable energy use.
In comparison, Korea lags far behind to an embarrassing degree. Last year, the percentage of power generation from renewable resources in our country stood at a meager 8 percent—with more than half of that from waste disposal.
In response, my Administration incorporated identifying and fostering eco-friendly future energies into its 100 policy tasks and announced the Renewable Energy 3020 implementation plan with an aim to increase the percentage of power generation from renewable resources to 20 percent by 2030.
In terms of job creation, more than 10 million new jobs have been created in the renewable energy sector around the world.
Two weeks ago, I visited Denmark, which now leads the world in wind power generation. The country's wind power industry accounts for 8.5 percent, or US$8.1 billion, of its total exports and provides 33,000 jobs. There I was able to ascertain the bright future of Saemangeum and Jeollabuk-do. The Province has an ideal environment and conditions upon which it can grow further, like Denmark, on the strength of the renewable energy industry.
Jeollabuk-do is home to such robust key industries as manufacturing and shipbuilding equipment and materials as well as port facilities, which can be regarded as the foundation for the creation of a wind power generation complex.
Here on Bieungdo, a floating solar power plant, the largest in Korea and 2nd largest in the world, has already been built and is now in commercial operation. In a nearby location, considerable wind power generation is also in commercial service, and a new and renewable energy complex has been built in Buan County.
The beginning of a renewable energy project in Saemangeum will mark a groundbreaking turning point to enhance the global competitiveness of Korea's renewable energy industry.
Related manufacturing companies, research facilities and demonstration centers will be set up at the Saemangeum area’s planned solar and wind power generation complexes to take renewable energy technology to the next level.
It will be an opportunity to help create a large domestic market for local renewable energy companies, including solar and wind power generation businesses, which are undergoing hardships due to insufficient domestic demand. It can also generate demand for industries related to shipbuilding equipment and materials and offshore plant engineering.
In addition, it will also be a great chance for our Jeollabuk-do to promote the carbon composite industry, one of its top priorities.
The Government will not spare its support for creating decent jobs through renewable energy projects and closely cooperate with local governments.
The Saemangeum renewable energy projects embody the ardent aspiration of Jeollabuk-do residents. Saemangeum is a touchstone that can assess the Republic of Korea’s energy transition policy. I hope the world’s best renewable energy cluster will be created here.
Success can be achieved when the Government’s active support meets strong initiative and planning capabilities from local governments. What is most crucial in the process is the eager participation of Jeollabuk-do residents.
There can be diverse interests and differences in ideas among each region in the process of carrying out development projects. The opinions of residents in each region should be well noted and coordinated so that no region is left out. In particular, I ask local governments and the Saemangeum Development and Investment Agency to keep an open mind when communicating with local residents.
Jobs and profits created by power generation projects need to contribute to generating income for local residents. I hope that they will create exemplary cases of common prosperity in the region in which residents take part in the development and jointly thrive.
Fellow Koreans, Jeollabuk-do residents and Gunsan citizens,
We are happy when we live in harmony with nature. Renewable energy will make our lives safe and create an environment where we can live in harmony with nature by protecting it. It will be a driving force to create a new Republic of Korea.
I declare the transition to new energy sources and the start of a new 1000-year-long history here in Saemangeum today. Jeollabuk-do, Gunsan and Saemangeum are the center of renewable energy in the Republic of Korea.