How Korean fishermen almost stopped S'pore firm from building their first offshore wind farm

5 days ago 28

Now with better local context, this renewable energy specialist has successfully completed the project and is working with Enterprise Singapore to scale its business

When G8 Subsea landed its first overseas renewable energy project in 2017, it felt like a turning point for the home-grown subsea cabling specialist and engineering firm.

Tasked with installing underwater power transmission cables for South Korea’s first wind farm, it embarked on what would become a landmark endeavour for the business.

But just like how unpredictable the weather and climate can be, the Gochang Phase 1 Offshore Wind project was not without its fair share of hurdles. 

Despite the challenges, they offered G8 Subsea's founder and managing director Gerald Tan plenty of lessons.

During the project’s initial site survey, local fishermen had confronted its staff, wanting to know their intentions in the area. Later, a smaller group on a speedboat blocked its engineers from going to the offshore site, threatening to collide with their vessel.

“They were very protective of the area, and understandably so because it is their livelihood,” recalls Mr Tan, 48. “So, we learn to look at local factors and the communities before we start such projects.”

Determined to forge a positive relationship with the community, G8 used the villagers’ services and purchased food from them, which not only eased tensions but also earned them support.

What the episode taught Mr Tan and the G8 team was that they needed to be ready for unplanned situations. “Sometimes, we just have to expect the unexpected,” he says.

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