South Korea

Root Energy completes Korea’s first offshore wind farm resident participation programme

Korean renewable energy local acceptance solution provider Root Energy has successfully raised 20 billion KRW (approx $15 million) of local investment through its Community Funding platform for Jeju Hallim Offshore Wind, Korea’s very first offshore wind resident participation programme.
Root Energy completes Korea’s first offshore wind farm resident participation programme
Jeju Hallim offshore wind farm. Courtesy of Root Energy.

Root Energy, Korea’s leading renewable energy local acceptance solution provider, successfully raised KRW 20 billion (approx. USD 15 million) of local investment, which becomes Korea’s as well as the largest scale among the renewable energy resident participation projects in Korea.

The investment was crowdfunded by residents of Suwon-ri, Hallim-eup, Jeju Island. It makes the Korea’s largest offshore wind farm Jeju Hallim Offshore Wind meet the qualification for resident participation certified by the Korean government for the first time in the country.

Hallim Offshore Wind is Korea's largest offshore wind power generation project, with 18 generators of 5.56 MW producing a total of 100 MW of electricity. This project with a total cost of KRW 630 billion (approx. $470 million) began construction in January 2022 and aims to complete within October 2024.

Root Energy is the first to carry out a community-based crowdfunding model with more than 667 residents, and to raise the largest community investment of over KRW 20 billion (KRW 30 million per capita in average) in Korea. This case sets a significant precedent both domestically and globally, as laying the foundation for residents to take the lead in sharing of profits generated by nearby power plants.

Among different methods of renewable energy resident participation, the company decided to choose the community-based type which was evaluated to allow residents to actively express their opinions. As Suwon-ri is the village closest to the Hallim Offshore Wind Farm and is the area whose landscape and lifestyle are most affected by power plant construction, it is importantly considered that residents should independently decide how to share benefits.

By taking part, Suwon-ri residents will receive part of profits generated through electricity sales upon the completion of the offshore wind farm. Also, they will be able to take initiative in profit sharing plans to advance local businesses such as distribution of local agricultural and marine products and establishing horizontal village hotels. Horizontal village hotels are an idea of urban regeneration of old or decaying towns, which lets visitors immerse themselves in the charm of the local area instead of staying in a high hotel.

“As Korea pledged to triple renewable energy at COP28, for it to become more widely distributed, it has no choice but to gradually become closer to residents’ living and working areas” said Yoon Tae-hwan, CEO of Root Energy. “Without residents both understanding the need for renewable energy and actively engaging with it, the expansion of renewable energy will reach the limit at some point. This Hallim Offshore Wind Power resident participation case shows the possibility of renewable energy development where residents take lead, going beyond the resident participation. As a company specialising in community acceptance, Root Energy will continue to make efforts to foster local co-existence through resident leading renewable energy profit sharing projects.”

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