Turbine plants are any of the various gengineered plant species who have one or multiple turbines for exploiting the kinetic energy of a moving fluid. The rotary motion is used to turn a generator or flex piezoelectric plates and bars. However it's done, the energy is used to supplment photosynthesis, building up organic molecules that are the plant's food. Some species generate electricity and are engineered to feed the majority of their voltage into room temperature (or higher superconducting) polymer wires or batteries that can be tapped for electricity.
Aquatic turbine plants that grow in rivers, streams and tidal regions have horizontal helical turbines. The terrestrial plant's turbines are vertical and helical so that wind can blow from any direction to spin them and in turn the generator that is connected to the bottom of them. Some species aren't solitary entities once they've had time to grow, and form dense thickets of power producing turbines. They send out runners; or a tangled mass of roots, like a banyan tree growing along the surface of the ground. Given enough time an entire continent or world can be covered in a plain of living wind turbines. They grow up mountains and cliffs, and when the woody runners grow down into rivers to spread to the other side the section under the water grows horizontal or vertical helical turbines.
Other varieties are engineered to live on the ocean floor and run off thermal vents, or simply ocean currents. Some oceanic varieties live on the surface, using ocean thermal energy differentials to produce power. These plants are supported by CO2 gas bags floating on the water. If the water is shallow enough they send down tendrils that anchor themselves into the sand, mud or rock bottom; otherwise they use sea anchors. Ocean living variants disperse themselves rapidly by sending off seeds that are kept aloft by a small hydrogen gas bag. The gas bag is also the plant's first leaf. These plants need leaves to fuel the growth of the turbines before they become operational.
The first turbine plants are thought to have been gengineered partly for the novelty and partly for the electrical power they produce. Whatever their origin, they are widespread throughout the Diaspora found almost everywhere.
Tech Level: Biotech 6, Nanotech 4
Cost: Public Domain to Low