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Norway to offer wind energy tech during Expo

Norway is to highlight its maritime ties with Korea as part of its presence at the Yeosu Expo, and will promote wind energy technology as a new area of collaboration here.

The Scandinavian country’s exhibition will present Norway as an energy nation with an environmental perspective at the world fair to run from this May to August.

It will host a high-level business meeting at the Expo on May 14, where the Korean Norwegian Economic Council will focus on the maritime sector. And a meeting in Seoul the next day, partnered with Korea Wind Energy Industry Association will promote Norway’s advanced offshore wind technology.

“A country like Korea must also develop renewable resources and wind energy is also one area in which we can develop,” said Bjorn Bjornsen, director of Innovation Norway in Seoul and commercial counselor at the embassy.

“This area is untapped at the moment and is one in which we hope to be participating, in particular in the planning, installation, risk management and maintenance.”
Bjorn Bjornsen, director of Innovation Norway in Seoul.(Kirsty Taylor/The Korea Herald)
Bjorn Bjornsen, director of Innovation Norway in Seoul.(Kirsty Taylor/The Korea Herald)

South Korea imports 97 percent of its energy needs, and is considered a latecomer to wind technology. But the country is investing 10.2 trillion won ($9 billion) to build a 2.5 gigawatt wind farm off the southwest coast, with the first 100 megawatt demonstration phase to be completed by 2014.

Bjornsen said that Norway’s new floating wind turbine technologies could help the country harness stronger winds off the southeast coast in future. Floating wind turbines are being tested to move the relatively immature technology into deeper waters, where equipment cannot always be fixed to the seabed. Although the technology is not yet in full production, Norway has already started projects off the U.K. coast and hopes to take its expertise to Korea.

“Over time the energy resource in wind will be in the southeastern part where we have deeper water. There, we will see the advantage and experience that we have from harsh climatic areas both in the North Sea and in other areas. We have developed this kind of experience and this kind of floating energy and wind-producing units,” he said.

A business delegation including the country’s Crown Prince Haakon and minister of trade and industry will attend the business events surrounding the Expo, with more specialized conferences and meetings to follow throughout the year.

Norway’s Yeosu exhibit aims to give the experience of visiting Norway, its nature, technology and aquaculture as well as the maritime and offshore sectors. Visitors will be taken on a simulated sea voyage to Norway. Korean tour guides will lead them on the interactive three-stage journey of departure, sea voyage and arrival on the Norwegian coast.

The pavilion’s concept of “25 148 Norway” indicates the length of the mainland’s coastline of 25,148 kilometers when all fjords and bays are taken into account.

“We are a very long coast and we have since the beginning of time been totally dependent on nature. We have to strike a balance between harvesting nature living in a good relation environmental based on sustainability,” Bjornsen said.

The pavilion is sponsored by Norwegian firms doing business with Kongsberg Maritime Korea, Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA., DNV, and Hoegh Autoliners.

As well as hoping for further growth in business of building ships and offshore structures with Korean firms, the embassy hopes to see charter flights to run between Korea and Norway starting this summer.

“What we do with this pavilion is to say where we are today based on history and where we want to go in the future in cooperation with the Korean partners,” Bjornsen said.

By Kirsty Taylor (kirstyt@heraldcorp.com)
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