Wind power giant Ørsted goes crazy for colorful coral
Danish wind company tries to implant vital marine life under its tropical turbine platforms.
(A native of England, Matthew Diebel is a veteran journalist who has worked at NBC News, Time, USA Today and News Corp., among other organizations. Having spent his childhood next to one of the world's fastest bodies of water, he is particularly interested in tidal energy.)
Wow, those wind-powered offshore turbines you’ve got there are sure putting out a lot of electricity. And, heck, a lot of colorful coral, too.
What? Well, it turns out that Denmark’s Ørsted (DNNGY), the world’s biggest wind-turbine company, has launched a project which aims to support new reefs by growing corals on wind turbine foundations in waters off Taiwan, says a company press release. The seabed scheme, which has been in the works since 2020, will start in earnest in June with proof-of-concept tests of its ReCoral system on four foundations at its newly installed 900 MW Greater Changhua project in tropical waters off the east of the island. The array is owned 50% by Ørsted, with the rest belonging to Canada’s Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) and China’s Cathay Private Equity Co.
Working with Taiwan’s Penghu Marine Biology Research Center, the pair have developed a non-invasive methodology for coral seeding that involves the collection of surplus coral egg bundles that wash up on shorelines and would not otherwise survive. Reefs are vital to the world’s oceans, providing habitat for an estimated 32% of all marine species, according to the UN Environment Programme.
The concept surrounds the fact that growing global warming-induced surface temperatures in shallow waters can lead to bleaching and death of coral, which mainly grow in shallow waters. However, at offshore wind farm locations further offshore, temperatures are more stable.
Let’s leave the final words to Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper: “Governments are preparing a significant expansion of offshore wind energy, and I’m confident that if done right, the offshore wind build-out can support and enhance ocean biodiversity.”
A significant quote? Not really — we’re using it because we love Nipper’s name. That said, Orsted’s undersea efforts could certainly be significant to the environment, as their turbines already are.