Samsø is an island located in central Denmark and consists of 22 villages. Since the middle of the last century the island experiences constant depopulation, resulting in a challenging demography with most of its inhabitants being more than 50 years old. Samsø did still have a diverse community consisting of many nationalities. Several of the island's largest workplaces closed down at the same time as the energy transition began - and a subsequent study showed that the transition brought new jobs to the island. Thus, there were 100 jobs at the slaughterhouse that disappeared, but 130 others were created in connection with the transition. Samsø has been at the forefront of the Danish energy transition for years. With high involvement of citizens and other local stakeholders in planning process, development and investment, Samsø became carbon-neutral by 2007. Samsø is aiming to be a fossil free island by 2030, and one of the biggest challenges faced is decarbonisation of the ferry transport.
Lighthouse in Renewable Energy
Samsø has been at the forefront of the Danish energy transition for years. The endeavor started in 1997, where Samsø took on the challenge to become Denmark’s first Renewable Energy Island, and already by 2007 they were successful. With 11 onshore and 10 offshore wind turbines, Samsø has managed the energy transition and is producing surplus renewable electricity, additionally biogas and solar facilities are also implemented.
Focus has not been on producing renewable energy only, also reduction in energy consumption has been attended to. Many measures have been invested in private homes to reduce the need for energy, for instance insulation and exchange of old / fossil burners. It is essential also to mention, that the energy transition has been done with local support and local investment. The Samsø Version 2.0 Plan calls for becoming totally independent of fossil-based energy in 2030. This means that aspects of transportation and infrastructure need to switch to electricity or biogas. The goal for Samsø is that they end up with a zero energy account, where they won’t need to export renewable energy to compensate for their use of fossil fuels.
Factsheet of Samsø
Degree of urbanization
population of 3760
This village has no smart village strategy.
Electrification of the municipal car fleet – including charging stations
The municipality started (too) early with electric cars, realising that they did not have sufficient service nor charging stations.
Latest attempts have been very successful and will bring significant savings. Solar panels have been established directly in connection with charging stations. Some of the solar panels are part of the stands on the nearby football field, others are installed on the roof of the car park. The cars are helping/nudging to get more people interested in buying electric cars themselves.
Smart charging system in harbour for boats
MILE is a smart micro-grid project located in Ballen harbour, on Samsø. It is a charging system for boats in the harbour using solar PV in combination with batteries. The smart-grid is connected to other facilities in close proximity for situations when there is surplus electricity available.
The project was done in collaboration with two other European islands: Madeira (Portugal) and Orkney (UK). The project was funded by the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.
Experience from the SMILE project is presently being used in planning how to overcome challenges in connection with grid and charging of the ferries.
Danish island on 100 % renewable energy
In 1997, Samsø accepted the challenge to become a model renewable energy community. And already in 2007 this was achieved. 100% of its electricity today comes from offshore and onshore wind power and solarpanels. It also has several biomass-based district heating systems so that 70% of the heat demand is generated using local resources. The island produces surplus electricity and exports renewable electricity to the mainland.
A dedicated campaign ensured local ownership and support of the massive investment needed for this energy transition, and almost 90 % of the vast investment for this transition is found local.
Samsø Energy Academy, email@example.com