Article by Alex Newcombe
Here I am, the first resident at Samsø Energy Academy’s fossil free cabins. Let me set the scene for you. The laptop I write in is connected to a portable solar panel, facing the sun as it sets slowly. Although it is 19:30 and overcast weather, the electricity is more than enough to keep my computer going, and the battery storage means that it should be for most of the night if I get carried away writing.
I am also clean and fresh, having showered with a solar powered shower bag. The cold wind was penetrating to the bone, but after immersing myself in the water, all was gloriously warm and calm. Calm is actually a good word for the experience so far. I have a feeling that not much could go wrong. I have food, water, shelter, and electricity.
Living off the grid has its benefits. If there was a power black out right now, I’d still have electricity. The initial price may be high (for solar panels, batteries etc), but now it is free. For someone like me who normally uses energy from fossil fuels, an ‘invisible’ source, where I cannot see, there is an unexpected feeling of connection with my source of energy. I am getting my energy directly from the sun, what everything else in the world uses for energy, but without the many ancient middlemen of fossil fuels. Fossils are ancient, and so is that inefficient, short-sighted and dangerous process of producing energy.
This idea of a fossil free cabin could have potential in many other places in the world. I could see it being a popular destination for those people who want to get away from the city. Could cities be made of cabins and buildings like this? I cannot see why not. Imagine a city of modern houses with wind turbines and solar panels producing their own electricity. Individual independence from pollution, electricity prices, blackouts.
It’s a simple life here, birds are chirping, wind is blowing, the sun is shining and I’m typing away. I could live here a long time I think. This kind of silence and serenity are rare in the city. I’m honoured to be the first resident, and I hope many more people come and have an experience like me. The view out the window is long grass blowing for about 100m, then a farm rising up the hill to the horizon.