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A small Danish island that is energy independent

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  • If assuming these claims are true then how do the opponents of wind power counter argue against its further adoption in rural areas?
  • The dependency on outside resources is reduced.
  • The social and economical model appears to be effective.
  • I dont believe that the subsidies and goverment support needed devalue it. We have already seen massive subsidies needed for banking organisations and auto manufacturers because of the necessary role they perform. The oil industry also recieves government support.




The little island and its big, green victory


The Danish haven of Samso is one of the world's first industrialised places to become energy self-sufficient – a great boost for a country about to host a summit on climate change. Tony Paterson visits the windy isle








The inhabitants of the windswept Danish island of Samso have achieved a decade-long target of self-sufficiency


A ferocious force-nine gale whipped across the low grass and pine-dotted hummocks. The sky was all deep grey scudding cloud, the rain horizontal and hard. But in a sodden field, three so-called "harmonious" wind turbines were working flat out and pouring cash into the islanders' bank accounts. The huge blades of the 70ft windmills sliced through the rain like giant revolving scythes, their whooshing sound audible as you stood beneath, even through the howling gale. That the island of Samso is an ideal place to harness the power of the wind seemed blindingly obvious in the midst of this wild storm.


The inhabitants of this Danish isle seized upon wind's potential as a source of energy and money more than a decade ago. Since then the Baltic island has become one of the first industrialised places on the planet to qualify as being totally energy self-sufficient.






Island Lessons

A tour of Samso feels a bit like a greatest hits collection of Denmark's successful energy policies. The island features district heating plants fired by waste biomass such as straw. The plants provide heat to homes in lieu of more polluting oil-burning furnaces. When the sun is shining — which, admittedly, is not often — solar thermal panels provide hot water. Wind power is everywhere — on land, where towering turbines shade cows on a dairy farm, and offshore, where 10 turbines greet the incoming ferries like a row of sentinels.


Many of the turbines are owned collectively by resident associations, with members chipping in to buy a slice of wind power. ("If you let people become a part of the solution," says Hermansen, "it works better.") Others are owned by single investors like Jorgen Tranberg, a dairy farmer. Tranberg, who likes to spend his spare time watching his cows on closed-circuit TV ("It's better than the news"), believes Samso's success could be replicated elsewhere. "We're not special people here," he says.










Samsø (Anglicized: "Samso" or "Samsoe") is a Danish island in the Kattegat 15 kilometers (9 miles) off the Jutland Peninsula. Samsø is located in Samsø municipality. The community has 4,300 inhabitants[1] (2009) called Samsingers and is 114 km² in area. Due to its central location, the island was used during the Viking Age as a meeting place. The etymology of the island's name is unknown.[2]


In 1997, Samsø won a government competition to become a model renewable energy community. Now 100% of its electricity comes from wind power.[1][3]





The comments on the first article are especially interesting and informative. The best arguments against this type of scheme in UK are


THERE IS NO POTENTIAL FOR WIND, SOLAR OR BIOMASS in the UK. There is just a trade. The land has already been assigned for other production, it is full. Every profit you make is paid for by someone else.


Every bit of fuel you do not use is now available to your neighbour. In fact any fuel surplus will invite new neighbours on to the high fuel life style. Nothing you do will make a difference. We are in a country where the local environment can not supply our needs anymore, so we are all energy dependant.


We are not 100% efficient in our husbanding of energy. Much biomass is wasted. Sewers for example. We have lots of space off-shore.


the farmers are all going into electricity generation and stopping farming food. So we will pay for the food to come in on ships. Fine for UK farmers, but overall it is worse for the population.


We have lots of space off-shore, on beaches. Much moorland is grazed mainly by sheep who wont be to bothered by turbines. Samso has 21 wind turbines – 10 on a sandbank off the island's south coast, half of which are owned by the local council. It's similar in the UK.



What are they going to do when the wind does not blow?


If the island's electricity grid is connected to the main Denmark grid, then it's also connected to both Norway's & Sweden's electricity grids. Said Norwegian and Swedish grids having lots of hydro plant which can be throttled to either down to absorb wind power from Denmark or up to replace it.

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If the island's electricity grid is connected to the main Denmark grid, then it's also connected to both Norway's & Sweden's electricity grids. Said Norwegian and Swedish grids having lots of hydro plant which can be throttled to either down to absorb wind power from Denmark or up to replace it.

Why would you want to throttle down or up a green energy as the islands production of energy does not reduce the emissions as the power is already there and virtually emission free. It most probably cost more in emissions to produce, install and maintain the wind turbine than the maintenance on the existing hydro energy source. I think that the reality is that they have just tried to make themselves financially more independent.


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I think that the reality is that they have just tried to make themselves financially more independent.


That instantly crossed my mind, as I remembered reading this story some time ago.


Freiamt residents produce 17 percent more electricity than they use, boosting their bottom line and proving that green isn’t just for geeky idealists.


Last year, the village generated 14.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity, or 2.1 million more than it used. That’s enough to power 600 additional German homes. For locals, who make their living mainly from tourism and agriculture, the turn toward green energy was less about big ideals than finding new income streams that wouldn’t harm the soil and forests.


“We’re no eco-rebels,” says Mayor Hannelore Reinbold-Mench. “We’re simply a community making a living off the land and all it has to offer.”


“Lots of people know they can do something for the environment, but they don’t,” says Mr. Leimer. “Our community took action. We did something for the environment and something for the next generation. At the same time, we did something for ourselves.”


“People used to laugh at us,” says Reinbold-Mench “They thought of us as simple country folk. Now they’re coming from all over just to see what we’re doing, and that’s a huge source of pride for little Freiamt.”




Scour many villages in Germany and you will find other such examples. Having visited a farm using many eco methods in Germany I feel very inadequate.

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How do they measure "self-sufficient"?


From my reading it looked like they mean self-sufficient in domestic energy use. Industrial too as there's not much industry there. Self-sufficient can have many meanings. They still use diesel for cars and the turbines and solar panels are made somewhere else.





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