Posidonia oceanica is a plant species of vital importance for biodiversity due to its remarkable influence on the preservation of aquatic ecosystems and costal dune systems, and because of its enormous relevance as an organic carbon sink, which makes it a very relevant instrument in the fight against climate change and favours the perspectives of the energy transition.
The commitment that Red Eléctrica maintains with the conservation of biological diversity and to promoting actions to help address the challenges of decarbonisation, together with its responsibility to avoid or minimise the interactions of submarine electricity links with the Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows, led the Company in 2012 to undertake an R&D+i project focused on the study of the use of fragments of this plant in order to enable the recovery of its natural habitats. The purpose of this R&D+i project, carried out in collaboration with the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (CSIC-IMEDEA), was focused on the two coastal landing points of the Majorca-Ibiza submarine electricity interconnection, specifically in the Bay of Santa Ponça (Majorca) and the Bay of Talamanca (Ibiza).
The objective of the project was the study of the use of seeds of this aquatic plant for the restoration of degraded marine areas of Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows in order to mitigate the effects due to works associated to the laying of submarine electricity cables. In 2017, agreements were signed with the CSIC and the Government of the Balearic Islands for carrying out an actual project for the restoration of 2 hectares in Bay of Pollensa following the methodology which resulted from the research carried out.
The project uses an innovative technique that consists of a process in which not only seeds of this plant are grown and germinated under laboratory conditions but also plant sections resulting from natural fragmentation are cultivated so they can subsequently be used for replanting in degraded areas of their natural habitat. The replanting is performed using different types of substrate in order to determine which ground is best for the growth of the plant, and regular monitoring is carried out to determine the survival and growth rate of each plant.
The main objective of the Red Eléctrica Marine Forest is the recovery of the marine habitat of Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows to offset the loss of this marine environment. Together with this, this project pursues three general objectives: promote the conservation of biological diversity, preserving an essential species for the sustainability of the Mediterranean’s marine ecosystems; promote research and development and the use of new technologies and processes, in order to avoid or minimise environmental impacts; and adopt a commitment to the fight against climate change. All this in line with the Company's 2030 Sustainability Commitment.
On June 2019, the business & finance newspaper Cinco Días awarded the project. These awards recognise the best practices in business innovation with special focus on social responsibility.
Red Eléctrica received on the 5th of June, 2018 an honourable mention as finalist of the European Business Awards for the Environment of the Spanish section of the 'Business and Biodiversity' category.
This project has also recently received another honourable mention as finalist of the 2018 European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE), in the special category 'Business and Biodiversity'.
On 1 June 2017, the Renewables Grid Initiative (RGI) awarded Red Eléctrica the 'Good Practice of the Year' award in the Environmental Protection category for the Company’s project for the recovery of Posidonia oceanica meadows.
With this technique developed by Red Eléctrica large areas of Posidonia oceanica can be recovered, reversing the degradation of this seagrass species endemic to the Mediterranean and helping in the preservation of an underwater plant that is fundamental for marine life, water quality and the fight against climate change, as it constitutes the sea’s main carbon sink.
Technique used in the R&D+i project ‘Use of seeds and fragments of Posidonia oceanica for the recovery of areas affected by Red Eléctrica de España's activity’ See more