Fellow Koreans and residents of Jeollanam-do Province,
The smell of a sea full of vitality wafts in breezes blowing between the islands and mainland. As always, the cobalt-blue water provides hope that spring will come after a long wait.
Today, here in Jeollanam-do’s Sinan-gun, a county that embraces pristine nature and 1,004 islands, both an investment agreement to form the world’s largest offshore wind farm and a mutually beneficial agreement to create “Jeollanam-do type jobs” will be signed. I am very pleased to bring welcome news to people exhausted by COVID-19.
The wind farm to be built on the waters off Sinan will be as much as seven times the size of the world’s current largest wind power complex. The 8.2 gigawatts of electricity to be generated here is equivalent to the capacity of six new Korean nuclear power reactors combined. This immense amount of electricity can meet the needs of every household in Seoul and Incheon.
The economic benefits are also tremendous. By 2030, 48.5 trillion won will be invested in this project, creating 120,000 jobs. Mokpo will become a logistics hub for the wind farm. Yeongam and Sinan will host massive manufacturing complexes to produce equipment needed for offshore wind farms.
Through these things, we can now accelerate the transition to eco-friendly energy and embark more vigorously on a journey toward carbon neutrality. As a leading project of the Regionally Balanced New Deal, the offshore wind farm will enable us to make a vigorous stride toward the recovery of local economies and the Republic of Korea’s economic resurgence.
This is a splendid feat made by residents of Jeollanam-do, including Sinan, Mokpo and Yeongam, as well as fisherman’s associations, labor and management, 18 power generation companies and manufacturers and universities in the region. I extend profound gratitude to everyone who reached agreement united as one. I should also thank Jeollanam-do Governor Kim Young-rok, Mokpo Mayor Kim Jong-sik, Sinan County Governor Park Woo-ryang and Yeongam County Governor Jeon Dong-pyeong as well as the other officials involved who forged a consensus from divergent interests.
Residents of Jeollanam-do,
Residents of the Korean Archipelago have based their living on plying rough seas. They have collected and shared marine products together. They have exchanged necessary goods via marine highways. In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, they took the initiative to practice the spirit of mutual benefit. Their heart-warming comfort was delivered to the residents of virus-stricken Daegu and Gyeongsangbuk-do in the form of 10,000 tulips grown in Sinan, and the city of Mokpo willingly provided hospital beds for confirmed COVID-19 patients from Gyeonggi-do suffering from the shortage of beds in their home province. And today, they are taking a fresh leap forward through inclusiveness and mutual benefit.
The key to Jeollanam-do type jobs is that local residents participate directly in the project. For the first time in a mutually beneficial job creation model, residents will have shares and receive profits. This will become a kind of “offshore wind power pension” that will be paid to local residents for a lifetime. Goods and services that are necessary for manufacturing wind power generation equipment will also be supplied through cooperatives organized by residents.
Fair prices for needed parts will be guaranteed, profits will be shared and large businesses and SMEs will be able to advance together. The quality of jobs will also be enhanced through flexible working hours and welfare payments for joint labor. The Korean New Deal will be able to reach full fruition when there is a shared belief that local areas can play a pivotal role in formulating plans for projects that match their different characteristics and thus improve residents’ lives.
Jeollanam-do is making the Korean New Deal manifest in the region by utilizing such natural resources as the sky, wind and blue sea. That is why the residents themselves coined the name “Blue Economy” for this vision. Beginning with the world’s largest offshore wind power project, comprised of Jeollanam-do type jobs, I ask you to play a leading role in the Korean New Deal.
The Government will make the Regionally Balanced New Deal the focus of the Korean New Deal, actively provide fiscal and financial support and promote regulatory innovation. Neighborhood infrastructure and large-scale, pan-regional projects will also be expedited to increase synergy with the policy for balanced national development.
The Sinan offshore wind power project, which is taking its first step today, will also be implemented swiftly. Offshore wind power generation is growing by nearly 30 percent annually worldwide. Our potential in this field is unlimited as the Korean Peninsula borders the sea on three sides. Korea has the world’s best technological prowess in offshore plants and steel; the country is second to none in these related fields.
The Government will provide all the support necessary with the goal of becoming one of the world’s top five countries generating offshore wind power by 2030. The time needed to prepare such a project – currently more than five years before construction can start – will be shortened. Special acts will be put in place to provide comprehensive support that includes early steps from finding a location to gaining approval.
Fellow Koreans and Jeollanam-do residents,
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has dragged on for over a year, we are surmounting the crisis by simultaneously protecting our own safety and that of our neighbors. Thanks to the sharing and sacrifices that people have demonstrated, the hope and confidence that we can achieve an inclusive recovery and resurgence have also grown. Jeollanam-do type jobs – which will even achieve mutual benefit with nature in addition to labor, management, civic groups and the Government – will accelerate an inclusive recovery and resurgence not only for the region but also for the Republic of Korea. Let us all congratulate this wind of mutual benefit and innovation blowing from Sinan today.