In 1997 Samsoe became Denmark’s first Sustainable Energy Island. It achieved 100 % self-suffiency within 10 years. 100 % of Samsoe’s electricity consumption is generated by 11 land-based windmills, and 70 % of the heat comes from sustainable energy sources. More than half the private oil-fired boilers have been replaced by eco-heat, solar heat plants and heat pumps. 10 offshore windmills south of Samsoe produce energy that compensates for the non-renewable energy use in the remaining oil fired boilers and in their fossil fuelled vehicles. The Energy Academy opened in 2007. The academy arranges workshops, conferences and courses for scientists, companies, politicians, journalists, school children and energy tourists. It has 5000 visitors a year in average. The academy is working locally for the continuous transition of the island towards sustainability, including being fossil-free in 2030. The interaction with the local community is very intense. 3700 local citizens have personally invested more than 40 million Euro in sustainable energy. It is the goal to be fossil free in 2030, and seven goals have been formulated to realize this vision. One of the goals is to reduce the energy used for heating local households by 33 %. Another goal is to have half of the local cars electric in 2020. The local islanders have recently established their own electric cars union.
Samsoe becomes Sustainable Energy Island as an response to the employment crisis on the island
Some of the core people in the organization had to learn how to create succesflul public involvement processes - technical arguments are not sufficient, ownership plays a major role.
The technical energy system is used to create a local identity and a centre for meetings and education - and develop energy tourism as a part of the local economic basis
The general election in November 2001 was a disaster for people dealing with sustainable energy and the organization has to find new strategies to survive
The original goal of being a 100 % sustainable energy Island is reached - it is essential to look forward in order to keep momentum
The change in government leads to lack of Funding - which is interpreted in different ways by the interviewees - it is possible to see the crisis as an opportunity for change
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