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Samsø Energymap

Click to see an interactive map of renewable energy projects on Samsø.


100% in ten years

Historien bag
Read: 10 year plan evaluation

Samsø began orienting island citizens about the potential and perspectives in the Energy Island project in 1998. There was a Ten Year Plan to orchestrate the project.

Eleven 1 MW wind turbines would make the island self-sufficient with electricity. They were erected in 1999-2000. The wind turbines are owned by a windmill cooperative and by individual owners.

The energy plan envisaged 60% of the island homes supplied with district heating and 40 % with individual heating systems. Local public meetings and citizens groups worked to generate the broadest possible base of public support for these initiatives. Nordby/Mårup was the first district heating system, established in 2002. Onsbjerg followed and finally Brundby/Ballen in 2005.

Houses outside the district heating districts were given several different options. They could requisition an energy appraisal of their house, a report which gave specific suggestions for conversion to renewable energy, as well as advice on how to conserve energy by improving house insulation and installing better windows and class A electrical appliances. Until 2002, a national program subsidised the installation of biomass heating, solar collectors and heat pump systems, an incentive that convinced many homeowners to replace their oil furnaces and electric panel heaters.

Several small-scale projects started after the energy island project in 1998. These investigated the viability of methane gas, disposal site gases and canola oil for vehicle transportation. During this same period, seven household windmills and three PV solar collectors systems were established.

The foundation work for the ten offshore wind turbines started in 2002 and the offshore wind park was the biggest project in the renewable energy implementation plan. These wind turbines were erected to compensate for the CO2 emissions from the transport sector and to match the energy consumption in this sector. Technical solutions are not yet available that can replace all the island vehicles.

The Samsø Energy Academy was built in 2006 and opened its doors for visitors in 2007.


Status and future perspectives

Status og fremtid

Der er opnået 100% selvforsyning af el fra vindmøller og ca. 70 % af varmeforbruget. Endelig er der kompenseret for hele transportforbruget ved havvindmøllernes elproduktion.

Der er planer om at få etableret et fælles gårdbiogasanlæg for at afgasse gylle fra gårde med stort dyrehold. Gassen skal bruges til elproduktion og varme. De manglende 30 % af varmeforbrugerne skal nås ved kampagner og nye varmeværker og individuelle løsninger. Varmepumper er nu interessante fordi vi har en stor elproduktion.

Transporten kan forsynes med rapsolie til dieselkøretøjer og benzinbilerne kan bruge bioethanol eller konverteres til brint og el. Vi venter bare på et teknologisk gennembrud og lavere priser.

Energiakademiet tilbyder kurser og workshops om emnerne og vil fortsat være vært for interesserede besøgende.


Cooperative and commercial ownership

Samsø’s district heating systems and wind turbines are organised in many different ways. Ownership spans from municipally owned wind turbines and commercially run district heating plants to privately owned wind turbines and cooperative district heating systems.

Samsø’s district heating systems and windturbines are organised in many different ways, including several different forms of ownership. This was not a specific goal set in the project, but the specific practical possibilities of each project lead to different solutions, and left us with a myriad of different ownership models specific to each renewable energy installation. There are now three technically almost identical straw based district heating systems. One is owned by a cooperatively owned regional utility, NRGi, the second is owned by a local commercial operator and the third is owned and financed locally by the consumers themselves.

Who owns the wind turbines?
Samsø’s wind turbines are organized in several different kinds of ownership. Five of the 10 off-shore wind turbines are owned by the island municipal government, the Municipality of Samsø. The proceeds from the windmills will be reinvested in future energy projects as Danish law does not allow local municipalities to earn money by generating energy. Three of the off-shore turbines are privately owned, for the most part by local farmers who have pooled resources to buy an off-shore wind turbine. The last two are sold on a cooperative basis to many small shareholders. One of these cooperatives is organized as Paludan Flak I/S, a locally based initiative. The other is a professional investment foundation, Difko I/S.

The 11 1MW wind turbines established on the island as one of the energy island’s first projects are also owned in different ways. Nine are owned privately by local formers or small groups of farmers. Two are owned by locally based cooperatives with many small local shareholders.

Straw, woodchip and solar thermal heating plants also have diverse forms of ownership
Samsø’s district heating systems are also owned in different ways. The cooperatively owned regional utility, NRGi, owns and operates the straw based heating plant in Tranebjerg and the combination woodchip/solar heating plant in Nordby/Mårup on normal commercial terms. The straw-based plant in Ballen/Brundby is a consumer owned heating system owned exclusively by the consumers themselves. The district heating system is run by a locally elected committee. Every consumer is eligible for election and the elected members are the governing body for the heating plant. The heating plant in Onsbjerg is organized as a limited company owned by the local contracter, the Kremmer Jensen brothers. The plant is run by a local committee with consumer and municipal representation. The former have two seats, while the island municipal council has one seat. There are also a number of smaller, so-called neighbourhood district heating plants, systems set up to heat some few houses, a school or an institution, f. eks. The straw based boilers at Samsø Jr. College and Brattingsborg Castle, and the wood pellet furnace at the Samsø Folk High School.

The facts: The consumer prices in each system

Tranebjerg – run on normal commercial terms:
Annual fixed rate for installation: kr. 2.695
Price pr. MWh: kr. 772

Nordby/Mårup – run on normal commercial terms:
Annual fixed rate for installation: kr. 2.564
Price pr. MWh: kr. 688

Ballen/Brundby – consumer owned:
Annual fixed rate for installation: kr. 2.500
Price pr. MWh: kr. 675

Onsbjerg – private company ltd:
Annual fixed rate for installation: kr. 2.600
Price pr. MWh: kr. 665


District heating organisation

The regional utility company NRGi organizes all their heating plants in the same way. In collaboration with a local group of interested citizens, NRGi disseminates general information about local district heating plants. The consumers in question also receive direct mail with relevant information. These letters contains forms which can be signed and sent in to sign up for district heating. This response costs 100 Danish crowns, about 20 dollars US.

The principal arguments in support of local district heating systems are environmental improvements (one efficient central boiler and one central chimney with efficient cleansing systems) and the ease of operation for each household. Normally the price of the delivered heat also means saving money on your heating bill. The actual planning process is first begun when 70% of the area’s consumers using regular oil furnaces or boilers have signed up for the conversion to district heating. The detailed project specifications are presented to the municipal authorities who can help the project financially by guaranteeing for the loans necessary to finance the project. The consumers repay the loans over a 20 year period, as money for the instalments is included in the heating prices.

At the national level, the Department of Energy has had funding available to alliviate the initial costs involved in starting new district heating projects. The project’s planning and economy is evaluated again and hopefully extra funding made available. After a public call for tenders, and subsequent bids that match the budgets, the district heating system is established.


Wood, solar heating and heat pumps

About 300 of Samsø’s private homes outside the local district heating systems have invested in individual renewable energy heating systems. Some have solar thermal panels on the roof to heat hot water and contribute to the heating of the house. Others have replaced their oil furnace with a wood pellet boiler, a Finnish mass fireplace or other biomass boilers. And some have installed the ever more popular heat pumps, either large ground-heat systems that supply the house with all its heat or smaller air-to-air heat pumps that heat the room where they are installed.

The island has about 1200 winterized homes outside the district heating areas and thus 25% of these now rely in whole or in part on renewable energy resources.

Houses with oil furnaces save both money and reduce CO2 emissions by replacing the oil burner with renewable energy solutions. Samsø’s citizens have since the energy island project began had access to energy consultants who visit your house free of charge to suggest insulation improvements and renewable energy alternatives.

Samsø’s local plumbers, carpenters and other tradesmen are ambassadors
Many of Samsø’s plumbers promote, sell and service solar thermal systems, wood pellet boilers, heat pumps and other renewable energy heating solutions. The Samsø Energy and Environment Office cooperates actively with the island tradesmen, among other ways by arranging training courses that keep them up-to-date with the newest technology.

This collaboration has been an important factor in the general task of converting to renewable energy. Citizens contact their plumber or furnace repairman when the furnace quits working. Traditionally, the customer would be advised to buy a new oil furnace to replace the old one. Today, they are offered professional advice on a broad range of products from wood pellets to heat pumps and solar energy. One of the local firms even produces solar thermal panels on the island, importing the necessary know-how and parts from a solar panel company based on the eastern mainland, Sealand.

Economic wood pellets or maintenance-free heat pumps
Consumers focus largely on the economics of these energy investments, but other factors also play an important rôle when decisions are made for conversion to renewable energy.

The environmental aspect is a critical parameter for many, but also the question of daily operation and maintenance is an important factor. For example, using wood pellets as fuel is inexpensive, but the furnace has to be cleaner regularly, and wood pellets have to be ordered and in some cases loaded manually, operations some find hard to envisage doing regularly. Heat pumps solutions are a little more expensive in running costs, but they require even less maintenance than an oil furnace. You don’t even have to order fuel!

  1. Line Sara Heiberg says:

    Hej. Det kunne være vildt interessant at få nærmere oplysninger om hvad de diverse energibesparende ting rent faktisk er – som f.eks. en varmepumpe, og hvordan den fungerer. Generelt bare mere uddybende faktorer om tingene.

  2. Hej. Det kunne også være interessant at se hvordan solceller er udbredt – der er sket meget på det seneste og mange solcelleanlæg er opstillet. Det må fylde meget efterhånden, så omfanget kunne være rigtigt interessant at se. Jeg har siden, her er i meget velkomne til at søge inspiration og evt. kontakte mig hvis i gerne vil have yderligere oplysninger.

  3. Christian møller says:

    Hej. jeg undrer mig over hvor mange penge det kostede for den enkelte borger da hele samsøs projekt startede. og om de penge der blev brugt om de er blevet tjent ind igen hos den enkelte borger