Offshore Windpark Burbo Bank Extension

How 50 wind farm sites across the UK could soon be rewilding the sea

Offshore Windpark Burbo Bank Extension
Copyright Paul-Langrock.de.

To some they are elegant, almost majestic towers of architectural beauty. To others great engineering marvels that could lead a path to a sustainable energy future. Some, it is true, just don’t and never will like them.

Yet for all their evolution in design and efficiency, for all they might well power a green grid and smarter use of power, it is what is happening below the surface of wind farms that is causing excitement for environmental groups.

BLUE Marine Foundation – a London-based organisation the seeks to protect the Earth’s oceans – has partnered with Denmark’s largest energy company Ørsted for a project that could ultimately help rewild the sea.

The Danes have been involved in studies of how the bases of offshore wind turbines can act as artificial reefs and fish aggregation devices. The hope being they can help marine life recovery and thrive.

Now it is hoped a joint-study of 50 offshore wind farms around the UK could lay the foundations for restoring native oyster beds.

Native oysters once covered around 20 percent of the North Sea. Today their numbers are thought to have declined by 95 percent.

A feasibility study used an Ørsted operated offshore wind farm in Essex, Gunfleet Sands, to house adult “broodstock” oysters and contribute to restoration of inshore populations.  

Now other areas are to be assessed to discover and study the best conditions, operational requirements and conditions to allow oysters to flourish.

BLUE Marine Foundation said: “BLUE hopes to build a network of project collaborators in academia, conservation, marine engineering and other relevant sectors.”

“The potential for rewilding the sea around wind farms is considerable since the UK has the biggest offshore wind generating capacity in the world and the government has committed to quadrupling this target by 2030.”

WHAT TO LEARN MORE? READ: Study | Exploring the role of offshore wind in restoring priority marine habitats

Main Image Credit: Copyright Paul-Langrock.de via Ørsted

 

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