The Renewables Evangelist: Samsø

Opinion piece by SunPro Energies

The gospel of a renewables-powered future is evidenced from the Danish island of Samsø. For the past decade, the island one-seventh the size of Singapore has been energy-positive and achieved a negative carbon footprint of 12,000 kilograms per person per year.

The difference was that its people completely owned their energy supplies.

The Danish island of Samsø (Source: The Guardian)

From wind, solar to biomass sources, the 4,000-strong community has transformed many areas of their lives to make this environmental commitment. Electricity is now powered by wind turbines, biomass boilers and solar panels, allowing life to go on per normal with smart tweaks.

The change first came about when the Danish ministry of Environment and Energy announced a competition to cut greenhouse gases by 21 percent. Led by Søren Hermansen, a native vegetable farmer, the gospel for cleaner futures was championed and proclaimed far and wide. Apart from island-wide decisions, it was the enthusiasm from the local people that made everything possible. It was the bottom-up approach that this success is achievable.

Samsø is the first island to become 100% renewable energy-powered, in and of itself an evangelist that spreads the message of possibility. It leaves Singapore, another island only several times its size, with the question: Is this scalable?

The CNA released a documentary, Chasing Scarcity, to see if such a model is in fact replicable. Yet it is interesting to note that Hermansen himself sees his hometown as no model to follow. Instead, he coined the transformation “as a reflection of what is happening in Danish society in general”, bringing attention to government-led initiatives or funding as necessary ingredients as well.

 

The Danish island of Samsø on the map

While it may be easy to brush off Samsø as a strategic island, we remember the necessity in unprecedented times to be sustainable. The principle behind this is clear: everyone in the population plays a role to shake things up — from the home users, to the policymakers.

As Samsø works towards its next goal, which is to be fossil-free by 2030, Singapore has much to learn from a humble community. The community is continuing to work on organic waste management and food produce as well.

Here at SunPro Energies, we believe in creating a future that champions sustainability. We bring to you stories of sustainable approaches taken by various individuals that have inspired us.

Join us to champion a greener future with solar energy.

 

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