Published 1 year ago.
About a 4 minute read.
Image: Ørsted/Martin Jung
The unique partnership aims to advance offshore wind
deployment that enhances ocean biodiversity, and drive a global shift towards addressing both climate and biodiversity goals.
Climate change is accelerating biodiversity loss, as crucial ecosystems are hit
hard by the impacts of a warming world. Our oceans play a significant role in
climate change mitigation; but they are not in good health — and their ability
to absorb enough carbon to help avoid climate disaster is at risk. More and more
potential solutions are emerging to help restore ocean
but in the meantime, the renewable energy transition is central to tackling
these interlinked crises.
So, Ørsted — voted the world’s most sustainable energy
company this year
by Corporate Knights — has launched a five-year global
partnership with WWF to integrate action on both
climate change and biodiversity by advancing offshore wind infrastructure that
strives to achieve a net-positive impact on biodiversity. Ørsted and WWF will
jointly identify, develop and advocate for offshore wind deployment initiatives
and approaches that not only are in balance with nature but also enhance
The solutions delivered during the five-year partnership will support both
Ørsted’s 2030 biodiversity
WWF’s call to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.
In this decade, the global installed offshore wind capacity is expected to
increase by a factor of seven — a helpful development on both the climate and
nature fronts, as it replaces polluting fossil fuels. The climate and biodiversity crises are deeply interconnected; but they are still often addressed
independently, without considering the impacts or the synergies.
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“The planned expansion of offshore wind risks having a negative impact on
biodiversity if done in the wrong way,” says Marco Lambertini, Director
General of WWF International. “However, if done right, it can support and
enhance ocean biodiversity and create a net-positive biodiversity impact. This
is why this partnership is so important to developing offshore wind energy with
a net-positive impact on the ocean. It’s ambitious, but it’s absolutely
Ørsted Group President and CEO Mads Nipper says: “Governments are
accelerating the build-out of offshore wind energy to end their dependence on
fossil fuels and power the world sustainably. Addressing climate change and
biodiversity loss together allows for a much-needed shift in the way
governments, NGOs, and businesses work to solve these interrelated crises.
Solutions must complement one another, not come at the expense of each other.”
To that end, the partnership will:
develop and test tangible initiatives that improve ocean biodiversity
develop science-based recommendations for how governments can incorporate
ocean biodiversity requirements into offshore wind development
work to bring together those who use the ocean and those who seek to protect
its health, and deliver on a common vision for a decarbonized energy system
that exists alongside marine life protection and restoration.
One key issue is how to make space in the ocean for both increased marine life
and increased offshore wind energy. The goal of this partnership will be finding
renewed and innovative approaches to ecosystem-based marine spatial planning
that take an integrated approach to meeting climate and biodiversity goals, and
to drive forward the international debate and collaboration needed to bring
about this fundamental global shift.
To kick off this work, Ørsted and WWF will invite leading experts to discuss the
best way forward at a joint event at
One ambition for the partnership will be to have nature protection and
restoration implemented in future offshore wind tenders by governments globally.
The partnership will start with a joint marine ecosystem restoration project
in the North Sea, supported by leading academics in this field. This initial
restoration project focuses on improving methods to repopulate highly depleted
reef-building species at scale in the North Sea, specifically native oysters
(Ostrea edulis) and horse mussels (Modiolus modiolus) — two species
considered important ecosystem builders, as the biogenic reefs they form provide
vital habitat for a wide range of other marine species.
Over the past 15 years, Ørsted has transformed from a fossil fuel-based energy
company to a global leader in renewable
energy — even changing
its brand identity in
from DONG (Danish Oil and Natural Gas) Energy to Ørsted to reflect its
divestment from oil and coal. The company is well on track to become carbon
neutral in its energy generation and operations by 2025, reducing its greenhouse
gas emissions intensity by at least 98 percent compared to 2006. In 2021, Ørsted
became the first energy company in the world — and one of only seven companies
globally — to have its target of reaching net-zero emissions across its full
value chain by 2040 validated by the Science Based Targets initiative.
Determined to ensure that its offshore wind installations improve ocean health,
Ørsted has set an industry-leading ambition to deliver a net-positive
biodiversity impact across all new renewable energy projects it commissions from
2030, at the latest. This move builds on long-standing efforts to minimize known
impacts such as those associated with installation — the partnership with WWF
builds on efforts Ørsted has already taken on this front to improve project
design and sustainability of materials and implement monitoring systems designed
to protect and conserve endangered species such as tropical coral
reefs in Taiwan
and the North Atlantic right
Published Nov 2, 2022 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 12pm GMT / 1pm CET