In 2019, representatives of the European Commission visited the island of Samsø and the Samsø Energy Academy, where they had the opportunity to learn about the island community’s clean energy transition journey from the Energy Academy’s team.
Located 15 kilometers off the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark, a unique island and its community have been pioneers of the island clean energy transition for more than 20 years now. The island being a meeting place already during the Viking Age, its inhabitants have preserved the tradition of collaboration and dialogue to turn one of humanity’s biggest challenges into a reality: the transition away from fossil fuels and towards a sustainable economy.
Today, the Island of Samsø can take pride in its unique title as Denmark’s Renewable Energy Island. Samsø produces more energy than it uses, coming from 11 onshore and 10 offshore wind turbines, and supplemented by biogas and solar facilities. What started with a dream in 1997 had already become a reality by 2007 – but the local community wanted to push the envelope even further. As a next step, Samsø aims to become fossil-free by 2030.
The Samsø Energy Academy is a meeting point for people who are interested in community development. The organization’s goal is to convey knowledge about holistic cooperative processes. The buildings of the Academy incorporate the sustainability principles the community seeks to promote also outside their walls. Its activities include energy efficiency advice for companies and homeowners, tours – including tours for specific trades and industries – and workshops and seminars. The Academy has become known beyond Danish borders, and is providing support to communities in Europe and across the world.
To share the knowledge acquired throughout their journey, the Samsø Energy Academy has developed the Pioneer Guide, a roadmap to community engagement and change management.
Constantly looking to push and implement innovative approaches, Samsø has participated and continues to participate in clean energy projects (see here for an overview). Visiting these projects really helps visualise what the energy transition can look like, and to understand the community’s transition journey when hearing from the different community members that gradually engaged with and carried the island’s transition.