Danish developer Ørsted has installed 12 artificial reef structures on the seabed at its Anholt wind farm 15km off the Danish east coast in a bid to encourage biodiversity.
The 3D-printed structures are about 1m3 and “look like a wedding cake consisting of several levels that are connected to each other by hollows where fish can swim in and out of hiding places”, the developer explained.
They are designed to complement the existing 24 boulder reefs – which are now “teeming with life” – that Ørsted set up when it built the 111-turbine 400MW Anholt Anholt (400MW) OffshoreBetween Djursland and Anholt, North Denmark, Denmark, Europe Click to see full details project. The wind farm in the Danish Kattegat was commissioned in 2013.
Ørsted is working in partnership with the Danish unit of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the two are hoping that the reefs will help to halt the decline of cod stocks in the Kattegat, part of the North Sea that lies between Denmark and Sweden.
Cod stocks in the Kattegat strait between Denmark and Sweden have fallen by around 90% since 1990 amid overfishing and habitat loss, the Danish developer explained. This has impacted biodiversity in a “negative domino effect” as cod is an apex predator that helps balance the marine ecosystem. Left unchecked, its prey deplete seagrasses that support marine species and store carbon.
The firm recently invested in Norwegian startup Spoor, which is developing an artificial intelligence system to monitor and track birdlife at offshore wind farms. It also teamed up with Dutch environmental organisation ARK Nature to explore rewilding at offshore wind farms, with an initial focus on restoring shellfish reefs in the North Sea, and in May announced its ReCoral project to grow coral on offshore wind turbine foundations in Taiwan.
Ørsted wants to have a “net-positive biodiversity impact for all new renewable energy projects commissioned from 2030”.