The Gray Whale 3 is a 504MW offshore floating wind farm planned to be developed around 60 to 70km from Onsan Port in Ulsan, South Korea. (Credit: DORIS)
Gray Whale 3 is being developed by BadaEnergy, a joint venture (JV) between Green Investment Group portfolio company Corio Generation, TotalEnergies and SK Ecoplant. (Credit: DORIS)
BadaEnergy and KEPCO E&C signed a FEED contract for power supply system. (Credit: BADAENERGY)

The Gray Whale 3 Floating Offshore Windfarm is planned to be developed around 60-70km from Ulsan Port in South Korea.

The 504MW project will form a part of the three-phase Gray Whale development with a combined installed capacity of 1.5GW. Once complete, Gray Whale is expected to be one of the largest floating offshore wind developments in the world.

Gray Whale 3 is being developed by BadaEnergy, a joint venture (JV) between Green Investment Group portfolio company Corio Generation, TotalEnergies and SK Ecoplant.

The construction of the first phase of the project is expected to begin in 2024, while operations may begin by the end of 2026.

Gray Whale 3 background and development details

In September 2020, TotalEnergies and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) agreed to co-develop a portfolio of five large floating offshore wind projects in South Korea with a combined capacity of more than 2.3GW.

The project portfolio included three projects off Ulsan with a total capacity of 1.5GW and two off the southern coast of South Jeolla Province totalling 800MW.

In April 2020, GIG completed the installation of floating LiDAR to help in determining the area’s suitability for development.

The system was designed to collect wind resource data including wind speed and direction to help in assessing the project’s impact on the surrounding environment and ecosystem.

Various stakeholders, academic institutions and local communities were involved in the early development phase of the project, such as the selection of Korea Maritime University, Zen Limited and Vision Plus for the design, stability testing, installation and operations of the floating LiDAR Bouy systems for offshore wind measurement.

In January 2021, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with GIG-Total and Ulsan Metropolitan City to set up an industry-academic cooperation programme for the development of floating offshore wind business.

In July 2021, GIG and TotalEnergies received an Electricity Business License (EBL) to establish the first phase of Gray Whale development. The approval was given by the Electricity Regulatory Commission of South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy.

In September 2022, SK Ecoplant teamed up with Corio Generation and TotalEnergies to develop the more than 2GW BadaEnergy offshore wind portfolio including the Gray Whale development.

The partners have also teamed up with Energy Infra Asset Management, a Korean renewable energy fund manager, to fund the Ulsan offshore wind project.

Key Gray Whale 3 Project details

The 1.5GW Gray Whale is planned to be developed in three phases. After completion, the overall project will produce enough power for 1.67 million households annually and offset carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 2.44 million metric tonnes.

The first phase of the development, with a capacity of 504MW, will be located in a water depth of 150m. The wind speed at the location is estimated to be 8.5-9.0m/s.

The Gray Whale 3 project will involve the installation of wind turbines, offshore and onshore substations and construction of related infrastructure.

The design of the floating foundation for the project will feature Technip Energies’ floater technology INO15, a three column semi-submersible floater with a total capacity of 15MW.

The floating wind farm is expected to be constructed in 24-36 months, followed by an operational period of 20-25 years.

Contractors Involved

In August 2022, a consortium of Technip Energies, Subsea 7 and Samkang M&T won a contract to perform a Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) for Ulsan Gray Whale 3 Windfarm project. The scope of work includes engineering for the floater, mooring, and inter-array cable (IAC) in collaboration with a wind turbine supplier.

In November 2022, Bureau Veritas, an independent third-party testing, inspection, and certification provider, in partnership with the Korean Register (KR), was selected to provide the project certification for the floating offshore wind farm project.

Under the agreement, Bureau Veritas will be responsible for providing project certification services including conformity assessment of the complete project including design, manufacturing, transportation, installation, and operation and a review of the FEED.

The DORIS and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) consortium secured a FEED contract in October 2022 encompassing activities related to the floating units, along with the design, procurement, and installation of the floaters and their station-keeping systems; procurement, laying, and connecting the IACs to the floaters, and activities associated with the integration of the turbines on the floaters.

In June 2023, DORIS won the second FEED contract for the Gray Whale 3 floating offshore wind farm. This contract includes the project’s full electrical and communications system to the grid connection, array and export cabling, as well as fixed offshore substation foundation and topsides structure aspects.

In the same month, BadaEnergy signed a FEED contract with KEPCO E&C for the onshore cable route design and onshore substations of the Gray Whale 3 offshore wind farm.

GIG and TotalEnergies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ulsan Metropolitan City government and the city’s university, companies, and Korea Wind Energy Industry Association (KWEIA) in September 2021, to localise a supply chain and equipment for the offshore wind project in Ulsan.

The MoU was aimed to set up a supply chain comprising mostly of Ulsan-based companies and localising equipment to establish the project.