Danish scientists propose combining two seemingly incompatible things – wind turbines as a renewable energy source and an effort to restore and grow dwindling coral reefs. According to their proposal, they literally kill two birds with one stone. How should it work?

How Can Wind Turbines Help Coral Reefs?

Coral reefs are fragile and sensitive ecosystems dying due to human factors. They are declining not only because of ocean waste chemicals and overfishing. Cyclones, rising ocean levels, and rising temperatures also contribute to this issue.

Wind turbines. Photo by Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash

As a clean, renewable, and cheap source of energy, wind turbines can support marine life and coral reefs’ growth. The revolutionary ReCoral by ØrstedTM project proposes to build pipe structures directly in the sea and thus create a basis for restoring habitable coral reefs.

It’s like a chain reaction – as corals recover, populations of other marine animals, plants, and coral-dependent fungi grow.

“The foundations of offshore wind turbines provide a unique environment where corals can grow close enough to the surface to receive enough sunlight, but without being exposed to high temperatures. This limits the risk of coral bleaching,” the ReCoral by ØrstedTM project team stated, as per ITV.

“Symbiosis” of Wind Turbines and Coral Reefs

Although construction on sandy beaches is an invasion of the marine ecosystem, offshore wind farms can successfully provide a clean, renewable energy source while complementing the ecosystem.mohou úspěšně poskytovat čistý, obnovitelný zdroj energie a zároveň doplňovat ekosystém.

Growing coral reef on the wind turbine. Source: Ørsted

“To halt climate change and create a sustainable future for the planet, its ecosystems, and its people, we must speed up the transition from fossil fuels to renewables,” Mads Nipper, Group President and CEO of Ørsted, also explained, as per ITV. “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.”

The ReCoral project will build wind turbines in the Taiwanese Penghu Islands. Biologists have released larvae to restore coral colonies on wind turbines.

Coral reef. Photo by Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash

Ørsted is the first company in the world to test coral growth on reinforced concrete foundations of offshore wind turbines. However, the potential positive impact on biodiversity is still waiting for scientists to evaluate.

Source and credit: https://www.greenmatters.com/p/coral-reefs-wind-turbines
Featured photo by Benjamin L. Jones on Unsplash