Could offshore wind sites host edible seaweed farms? The Swedes think so
Stockholm-headquartered renewable energy developer OX2 has signed letters of intent with Swedish edible seaweed companies Nordic SeaFarm and KOBB to explore the possibility of seaweed farming at one of OX2’s offshore wind farms.
OX2’s Galatea-Galene huge 1.7 gigawatt offshore wind farm will be sited off Halland, a county on the western coast of Sweden. It’s named after two Greek sea nymphs, Galatea and Galene, and consists of two sub-areas around 15.5 miles (25 km) outside the cities of Falkenberg and Varberg.
Galatea-Galene is expected to consist of up to 101 wind turbines and generate around 6 to 7 terawatt-hours of clean electricity per year. That’s the equivalent of the average annual electricity consumption of more than 1.2 million Swedish households. (There are 4.8 million households in Sweden, for perspective.)
This offshore wind farm will be developed in a single phase. Construction is expected to commence in 2028 and enter into commercial operation in 2030.
Simon Johansson, CEO of Nordic SeaFarm, and Benjamin Ajo, chairman of the board of KOBB, said in a joint statement [via Offshorewind.biz]:
We see great opportunities, in collaboration with both the fishing industry and the wind power industry, to both maintain and create new jobs when we investigate the possibilities of creating a new industry in Sweden in the form of large-scale aquaculture.
Developing the national food supply while [offshore wind] farms contribute to stopping the negative effects of climate change are more positive aspects.
All seaweed needs to grow is saltwater and sunlight. It’s a superfood that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, and particularly high in iodine, so it’s very nutritious. (Note that crispy seaweed in Chinese restaurants is actually cabbage.)
It can be used to wrap sushi, in soups and salads, in snacks and instant noodles, and as livestock food.
Seaweed also provides a source of food for marine life. In April, Electrek reported that a groundbreaking study found that the first US offshore wind farm has had no negative effect on fish and has even proven to be beneficial.
Here’s a short video from Nordic SeaFarm that shows how the company grows and harvests seaweed for consumption:
Pairing seaweed farms and offshore wind farms seems like an inspired idea.
Seaweed’s ability to absorb toxins and other contaminants from the sea make it environmentally friendly, but that’s not what humans want to consume. That’s where seaweed growers come in: they test the seaweed for safety and quality.
Any multipurpose sustainable use of an offshore wind farm, particularly one that provides both clean energy and nutritious food that doesn’t require either fertilizer or fresh water to grow, is a win. It’s also another example of innovation that the clean energy revolution is bringing about in the climate change fight.
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