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The Island in the Wind
A Danish community's victory over carbon emissions | The New Yorker - July 7, 2008 |

Energy positive: how Denmark's Samsø island switched to zero carbon | The Guardian - Feb. 24, 2017 |

Anyone doubting the potential of renewable energy need look no further than the Danish island of Samsø. The 4,000-inhabitant island nestled in the Kattegat Sea has been energy-positive for the past decade, producing more energy from wind and biomass than it consumes.

Samsø's transformation from a carbon-dependent importer of oil and coal-fuelled electricity to a paragon of renewables started in 1998. That year, the island won a competition sponsored by the Danish ministry of environment and energy that was looking for a showcase community - one that could prove the country's freshly announced Kyoto target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 21% was, in fact, achievable.

Interview: Samsø's Renewable Energy Magician

Hermansen's native Samsø is a small, blustery island nestled in Denmark's Kattegat Strait. At one time it was a cluster of farming communities powered by coal and oil, now it's an impressive showcase of sustainable power: wind turbines, district heating plants, rapeseed oil tractors and solar panels.


Over a ten-year period, as a result of skillful community engagement, realistic analysis, and deep understanding of local sensitivities, Hermansen helped set up investment plans for residents to buy in to a suite of alternative energies including wind and solar. Islanders exchanged their oil-burning furnaces for centralized plants that burn leftover straw or wood chips to produce heat and hot water. They bought shares in new wind turbines, which generated the capital to build 11 large land-based turbines, enough to meet the entire island's electricity needs.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Nov 3rd, 2021 at 06:02:55 PM EST


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