Guest post by Jan Jantzen, engineer at the Samsø Energy Academy and adjunct professor at the University of the Aegean, Chios island, Greece.
Samsø’s action plan promises to get rid of all fossil fuels by the year 2030, which is 20 years ahead of the rest of Denmark.
We already passed the first milestone in 2007. The island became Denmark’s renewable energy island, which means that it produces the same amount of renewable energy as it consumes, every year. The island has an electric cable to the mainland and a large electricity export, which counters the consumption of fossil fuels. Cars, tractors, and buses still use petrol and diesel.
After 2030, which is our second milestone, we intend to use electric vehicles and biogas for transportation and tractors. It is not an easy job, but it is going in the right direction. At the moment the island has six times as many electric cars per inhabitant as the rest of the country. The island is reducing its inventory of oil-burning heating units at a pace that is 50% faster than the rest of the country. The large electricity export in fact makes each islander slightly CO2 negative.
Ferries are by far the largest consumers of fossil fuel. The good news is that the municipality formed its own ferry company and bought a ferry which runs on gas. A future biogas plant will then supply the ferry with local fuel made from grass, animal manure and waste. Even in the golf club, solar powered golf carts handle the transportation, sheep assist the electric grass mowers, micro clover removes the need for pesticides and chicken manure replaces artificial fertilizer.
If you’re curious to know more about Samsø and hear from Jan in person, he will be speaking at the upcoming Greening the Islands conference in the Canary Islands (Dec 2-3, 2016).