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EGEB: This Dutch offshore wind farm will help oyster reefs grow

  • Reef structures with oysters will be installed within the Netherlands’ offshore Borssele Wind Farm Site V.
  • Energy storage tech company Fluence acquires digital intelligence platform AMS to improve the grid.
  • Ikea’s Buy Back scheme aims to reduce excessive waste in 27 countries — but the US isn’t on board yet.
  • Arcadia Power is committed to making clean energy work for the planet and Americans’ bank accounts — all without changing your utility company. Sign up to receive your $20 Amazon Gift Card — *ad.

Offshore wind farm oysters

Offshore wind farms offer many sustainable benefits — including being hosts for oyster beds. Dutch maritime contracting company Van Oord will install eight reef structures within the offshore wind farm Borssele Wind Farm Site V as part of a research program aimed at expanding the North Sea’s oyster population. It’s been designated as an innovation site.

The wind farm is 2 km (1.24 miles) off the Dutch coast. European flat oyster beds have been greatly decimated over the last century due to overfishing, habitat destruction, and disease, but they are now making a comeback due to increasing numbers of marine protected areas and offshore wind farms that host the beds.

Borssele Wind Farm Site V’s research program is testing different outplacement methods for live European flat oysters such as contained, loose, and pre-settled. This is being done to determine which method works best for the long-term establishment of oyster reefs on scour protection. (“Scour” is a specific form of the more general term erosion.)

Grid tech innovation

Energy storage technology solutions company Fluence, a Siemens and AES company, today announced it has acquired the digital intelligence platform of Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS), the leading provider of AI-enabled optimized bidding software for utility-scale storage and generation assets.

The two companies’ technologies together will help utilities, developers, and commercial and industrial customers optimize energy storage and flexible assets to deliver additional revenue, improve grid reliability and efficiency, and support the global transition to more sustainable and resilient power systems.

The acquisition follows a yearlong partnership between the two companies.

Fluence CTO Brett Galura told Electrek:

Our century-old power system is stressed. Renewable energy and energy storage are the solution.

The combination of Fluence’s integrated hardware, software and digital technology with AMS’ AI software will optimize renewable energy and energy storage assets, deliver more value for asset owners, improve reliability and flexibility for grid operators, and help lower carbon emissions.

Together, AMS and Fluence cover nearly 5GW of existing or awarded assets globally.

Ikea’s Buy Back scheme

Swedish furniture giant Ikea has announced a new buy-back scheme — called, ahem, Buy Back — where it will purchase old and unwanted Ikea items and resell them to shoppers at discounted rates.

Ikea is launching the initiative to help customers “take a stand against excessive consumption.”

The program will begin in the UK on November 24, just ahead of Black Friday. It will also run in 26 other countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Russia. But the US isn’t participating. Why not? The New York Times writes that an Ikea spokeswoman said:

It is a country decision, and Ikea Retail US will not participate in the buyback program. The US is currently exploring ways to bring Buy Back to the country in the future.

This year, they will use the traditional Black Friday to focus on other sustainability initiatives and to promote sustainable living among their customers.

(No, I’m not enlightened by that explanation, either — Ed.)

Ikea says that well-used items with several scratches will be eligible for a voucher worth 30% of their original value, very good condition will get a 40% voucher, and items in excellent condition can be swapped for 50% of their original value. The vouchers will not expire in order to encourage consumers to keep participating. Any item that can’t be resold will be recycled or donated to local community projects.

Products eligible for Buy Back include: dressers, bookcases and shelf units, small tables, cabinets, dining tables and desks, chairs and stools without upholstery, and chests of drawers.

Photo: Stopher Slade

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.