Reports in South Korean media claim SeAH Steel Holdings Corporation is planning to establish a facility in the UK to fabricate monopile foundations for the country’s fast-growing offshore wind market.
News website Korean Investors claims SeAH Steel Holdings Corporation plans to construct “the world’s biggest monopile facility” and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the UK government on 19 August 2020.
Coverage of the story by Yonhap News said the SeAH Steel facility in the UK will be able to fabricate around 100 monopiles a year.
No details were disclosed by the Korean company, but Korean Investors said around US$253M will be invested in the facility.
Reports quoted UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) minister Lord Grimstone of Boscobel as saying the UK government would provide ‘full support’ for the facility.
According to the reports, SeAH Steel will break ground on construction of the facility in 2021 and start monopile fabrication in Q1 2023. BEIS has yet to issue a statement confirming the Korean plan.
The UK government, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has set a target for offshore wind capacity of 40 GW by 2030, which is around four times current capacity.
To date, UK manufacturers have supplied only small numbers of monopile foundations and the market has been dominated by European suppliers, such as SIF and EEW.
Tees Alliance Group (known as TAG) was awarded the monopile contract for the Humber Gateway project, but went into administration in 2014. Since then, no monopiles have been fabricated in the UK for the domestic market.