Originally published December 18 2009
Samso is a Model for Ecological Utopia
by Angela Eksteins
(NaturalNews) Our world leaders gathered at the 2009 Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, hoping to agree on strategies to combat climate change. But have they scheduled a visit to Samso? The small Danish island of Samso has received international recognition as a prototype community for energy self-sufficiency giving the world not only a vision of the future, but a blueprint for today's source of alternative energy production. Samso has shown us exactly what can be done through collaborative effort.
In 1997, prior to the island's energy revolution, Samso was 100 percent reliant on coal and petroleum. By 2003 the island was 100 percent energy self-sufficient, utilising only renewable resources, and their efficient system has not produced greenhouse gases since 2007.
Samso isn't just carbon-neutral today - the island actually produces more renewable energy than it uses, about 10 percent, and exports the excess back to the mainland at a profit.
In 1997 the Danish government, looking to promote innovation, announced a competition: "Which local area or island could present the most realistic and realizable plan for the 100% transition to self-sufficiency with renewable energy?"
Samso's 10-year plan won the competition to become Denmark's 'Renewable Energy Island'.
It didn't however win them any prize money, tax breaks or government assistance to get started. A single staff position was able to be funded when federal money was secured and Soren Hermansen, an environmental teacher at the time and one of few that actually believed in the project, took the job.
Convincing the conservative Samsingers, as the locals are known, to 'think about energy' was not an easy task but skepticism and hesitancy were eventually overcome (in years not months). The islanders slowly began to embrace renewable energy with participation in the project eventually becoming the norm.
Working together, and under Hermansen's leadership, the ambitions of the Samsingers prospered and they have now revolutionized aspects of their daily lives and fulfilled their mission.
All electricity on the island is generated from 11 onshore wind turbines, and 10 more turbines have been erected offshore to compensate for the CO2 emissions from the transportation sector. The turbines are owned by a windmill cooperative, and also by individual owners, so there are some very happy Samsingers wandering about with some nice dividend cheques in their pockets.
Heat supply for the island comes from four sustainable district heating plants; straw burned at the plant is transferred to homes where it is used to provide heat and hot water. Farmers have adapted their tractors and fuel them using by-products from locally grown plants, like canola and rapeseed. The effort and complexity has such a broad scope that even milk production is utilized as part of Samso's energy system with some dairy farmers harnessing the warmth of fresh cows' milk to help heat their homes.
Samso's 10 year report states "One of the explanations for this success is the mobilization of the local population and their subsequent adoption of the project." Samso's primary objective has been achieved : "100% self-sufficiency with renewable energy attained using local resources, at the same time totally removing the emission of the greenhouse gas CO2 and other air pollutants."
Samso has achieved what every country in the world hopes to achieve.
Climate change is the biggest global issue right now and the small island of Samso is a BIG example of what can be done with collaborative effort, smart technology and clear vision.
Since becoming the 'Renewable Energy Island', Samso has increasingly found itself an object of study with researchers traveling great distances to get there. Will our world leaders be visiting? Let's hope so.
SAMSO - A RENEWABLE ENERGY-ISLAND; Summary of the "10 years of Development and Evaluation" Report; 2007
About the authorA passionate advocate for organic living and personal empowerment, Angela hopes to inspire others to live a healthy, wealthy life of purpose.
Angela's expertise is organics, meditation & alternative healing techniques and philosophies. She holds qualifications in Natural Skin Care Product Development, Reiki, Thought Field Therapy, Organic Facials & Massage.
Contact: [email protected]
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