Offshore wind giant Orsted will attempt to grow corals on offshore wind foundations, in what is claimed as a world-first trial that could bring major benefits for marine biodiversity.

The Danish group will in June start proof-of-concept tests of its ReCoral system on four foundations at its Greater Changhua project in tropical waters off Taiwan.

ReCoral is designed to grow colonies of corals in the stable temperature waters around offshore wind farms that can be used to compensate for damage caused by bleaching – itself an effect of rising sea surface temperatures from global warming – at the world’s coral reefs.

Orsted has been developing and testing the concept with academics and other coral experts since 2020, and if the in-field Taiwanese trial is successful it could be rolled out globally and used by other developers.

Orsted CEO Mads Nipper said: “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.

“If we succeed with ReCoral and the concept proves to be scalable, this Orsted innovation could create a significant positive impact on ocean biodiversity.”