Climb the co-op windmill that powers a Danish community

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By Hans von der Brelie  & Ole Krogsgaard
Climb the co-op windmill that powers a Danish community

The small Danish island of Samsø is one of the front runners of climate-friendly energy solutions. The secret: windmills. Eleven windmills on the island generate 100 percent of the islands electricity needs.

Becoming completely co2-neutral, however, did not happen overnight for the 3,700 inhabitants on Samsø.

When the project started in 1997 the island was hit hard by the closure of a slaughterhouse. Many locals decided to join the project, not because it was good for the environment, but due to the fact that it was a sound financial investment.

Søren Hermansen was the leading force behind the project 22-years-ago. Today he is director of the Energy Academy on the island. His motto is, ‘act local, go global’ exporting Samsø's success story outside Denmark.

“Imagine (if) we could repeat this hundreds of thousands of times across the world and share energy production with people who thereby become activists in their own community and help the transition needed to fight climate change. We need to fight the fear and anxiety amongst people surrounding climate change. So these turbines could be a sign of hope that we have these towers around the world as a signature of change,” he argues.

The inhabitants of Samsø, not content simply to be co2-neutral, have already given themselves a new goal: to become completely fossil fuel free by 2030. By then all cars on the island will have to run on electricity or biogas.

Video editor • Ole Krogsgaard