The Shell-led MunmuBaram joint venture has secured a so-called electricity business license (EBL) for about a third of its planned 1.3GW floating wind project off the coast of Ulsan in South Korea – the first time it has received exclusive development rights for an offshore wind project in Asia.

The country’s ministry of trade, industry and energy has granted the JV the EBL to progress 420MW of wind energy. Shell holds an 80% stake in the JV, while CoensHexicon has the remaining 20%.

“Acquiring the electricity business license is a key enabler for the MunmuBaram floating offshore wind project which could, if realized, provide renewable power to over 1m Korean households," said YoungKyu Ju, the project director of MunmuBaram.

"MunmuBaram will continue to communicate and cooperate with various stakeholders, including the local fishermen community and relevant organizations in Ulsan."

The province of Ulsan has attracted the interest of several foreign developers planning to build floating wind arrays in the Sea of Japan, among them also German developer BayWa r.e., as well as oil and gas majors Equinor and TotalEnergies.

Since 2019, MunmuBaram has been carrying out ground works such as the wind data measurement campaigns, and in September completed geotechnical and geophysical surveys.

The JV after the award of the EBL as next steps plans to carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA), marine traffic survey, and a cultural heritage inspection survey.

Subject to future investment decisions, the project located about 65 to 80 kilometres off the city of Ulsan will be developed in phases and once constructed, is expected to generate up to 4.2 terawatt-hours of clean electricity every year.