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Orsted to test breeding corals on Taiwan’s offshore wind farm

Orsted believes underwater wind turbine foundations ideal coral breeding ground

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Artist’s impression of future coral growth potential. (Ørsted image)

Artist’s impression of future coral growth potential. (Ørsted image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Orsted will embark on an innovative initiative to grow corals on offshore wind turbine foundations in the waters of Taiwan this summer as it seeks to support biodiversity by restoring coral reef ecosystems threatened by climate change.

Titled ReCoral, the project will see washed-up coral larvae collected and grown on turbine foundations of the Greater Changhua offshore wind farm starting in June. The idea is that the relatively stable water temperatures around such facilities will minimize the likelihood of coral bleaching due to extreme rises in temperatures, according to the Danish power company.

This experiment was conceived in 2018 and matured in 2020 with the expertise of Orsted’s biologists and marine specialists. The team joined hands with the Penghu Marine Biology Research Center to put the concept into practice, having managed to cultivate corals on underwater steel substrates at a quayside lab.

Buoyed by the success, the team will conduct a proof-of-concept trial for coral breeding in four separate turbine foundations at the Greater Changhua wind farm operated by Orsted. If successful, the ReCoral project is likely to be scaled up and the experience will be shared with the coral conservation communities globally, said the company.

Last month the Greater Changhua wind farm started delivering electricity, which has been fed into the national grid. Hailed as the largest and first far-shore wind farm in Taiwan, the facility is expected to power a million Taiwanese households upon completion.