Newsletter no. 20
The world is no longer the same
The CEO’S introduction
The Corona virus is still threatening, and we are part of Denmark’s plan! Mette Frederiksen says we must keep our distance and wait – so this is what we do! And so far, there is no one infected on Samsø. However!
We have none of the many guests we usually have! It is very quiet at the Energy Academy’s beautiful premises, we are tiptoeing around and holding our breath. When will we open?
We are there! And we talk through internet connections. We communicate and meet with the outside world via webinars. We learn new communication methods and limit physical contact.
It’s not easy, but it works, and we are getting better at it. So, contact through a screen with sound rather than a cup of coffee, a handshake and a good feeling. We learn to read each other in new ways. Sustainability is still the goal and the corona virus has had its positive impact on pollution and consumption.
But how do we get the good beat to go on when the virus is under control again?
Responsible island award in 2019 goes to…
Samsø in the middel of Denmark occupies second place within the European RESponsible Island Prize 2019.
The prize is awarded to the Energy Academy because of our solid and sustained work with the main focus on ‘Samsø: An island community pointing to the future’.
The prize is given for a variety of causes and effects.
A major reason for receiving the award is the work on designing units that have helped to promote renewable energy globally. Denmark’s renewable energy Ø is a product of good Danish energy technologies. The impact of these has played a major part on the environment and socio-economic sustainability, and this impact has changed the engagement of citizens and society. To this day, the solutions are still current and have thus created a future value in relation to the reusability of the solutions.
What is The RESponsible Island Prize?
The ‘Responsible Island Prize’ rewards results in the production of local electricity based on renewable energy, which has resulted in a focus on optimisation of heating, cooling and transport – all energy-intensive measures that are necessary for island living. The name refers to the combination of the English words for renewable energy and responsibility (Renewables (RES) and Responsibility).
Islands often have high local energy costs and can therefore derive various benefits from the transition to renewable energy sources – for example, creating local jobs and opportunities for sustainable tourism. There are more than 2000 inhabited islands in the EU. They are ideal testing laboratories for developing innovative energy technologies and can generally serve as energy models for small communities.
Samsø – An island that points to the future. Back in 1997, the island community Samsø embarked on a pioneering journey to become Denmark’s renewable energy island, and 10 years later this status became one reality.
The ambitions have now changed, and Samsø has set one even higher targets, as the island is currently phasing out fossil fuels Samsø does this by applying circular economy principles and common sense.
In other words, Samsø is again working on implementing solutions that point towards a sustainable future.
Sustainability, community and co-ownership. In its work, the Energy Academy has discovered that certain values are crucial to a satisfactory outcome: Ownership, leadership and purpose have become essential elements in understanding and executing Samsø’s many energy transitions.
The entire island community was and is still some of the complex processes that contain dilemmas where we have to engage us by meeting and talking about the many unknown factors.
Moods and discussions have been included to shape what the island project with renewable energy is important for boats you and me in the bigger picture.
Samsø with the Energy Academy has now been named an iconic community centre for the sustainable vision. It shows that sustainability is not just about energy transitions, but also offers increased opportunities for the individual and decisively conditions for the future of society.
How can the example inspire other islands and communities?
Once, Samsø was an island in the middle of trade routes and a meeting place for the Vikings. Today we are still a focal point – for people’s interests in community development and sustainable solutions. Early in the process of a permanent island, people from all over the world began to visit Samsø to study what was happening; a big affirmation that we were not alone.
Samsø Energy Academy proposes that every society take responsibility for its climate measures and put its own future at the centre. And with the RESponsbile Island Prize, we hope that we can still inspire the many: Both on Samsø and those who come every year from all over the world to visit the island and the academy.
From 2.0 “THIS IS DIFFICULT”
Since 2009, the Academy Energy has been working on what solutions are needed for Samsø to free itself from fossil fuels. The goal is 2030. We have 10 years at our disposal.
In our fossil-free island plan 2030, efforts are being made running parallel with national and local ambitions to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement with a 70% CO2 reduction in 2050 compared to the 1990 figures.
Samsø Energy Academy along local contributors are working on developing an action plan with different solutions, calculation and documentation models. The working title is changing and will now be called Climate neutral island 2050.
To help us get an overview of this complicated area, Samsø Energy Academy is part of a project aimed at developing a set of climate accounts. The climate accounts do not only focus on CO2 emissions from energy production and consumption, but also at emissions from land areas such as agriculture, forestry and other usages.
At the same time, we look at the industrial processes and product use, we look at discharge of wastewater and waste. This development is done in collaboration with Region Midt, Planenergi and Samsø Municipality, the project is funded by the EMD Foundation. In the calculations for Samsø, it is already evident that the two overpowering CO2 emission areas are transport and landmass. Furthermore, it turns out that Biogas and what is known as power2X, will be central to look at on Samsø, in order to achieve the goals set for 2050.
On Samsø, we will in the near future meet with everyone involved and examine whether dialogue can shift our understanding of how we, like the rest of Denmark, will have a climate plan that we can commit to as a national common goal. In this movement Samsø plays an important role in how we continue to work together in order to phase out of fossil fuels. Samsø is a living laboratory for the rest of the country!
Islands can now reduce their energy consumption
We at Samsø Energy Academy have the pleasure of being part of a project under the Rural District /Enterprise Agency. Our role is to engage the residents of a number of the Danish islands to see if there is any sense in establishing new energy plans.
We will meet each other on our islands, and here as islanders we will exchange and explore what common first steps are needed to stimulate green development. The focus is on the preparation of energy plans and their synergy effects. The synergy could, for example, lie in the use of local craftsmen via green investments as well as in the reduction of energy consumption by the individual consumer.
In this project, the Energy Academy has the opportunity to invite 5-7 small islands to prepare an energy plan. We hope that the islands would like to join us, so that, based on the needs and challenges of the respective island, we can see if there are savings ahead. The project runs in parallel with the EU’s Clean Island Secretariat and with the European Association of Small Islands.
Ballen Harbour passed the test
The project has reached a major “milestone” with the obtaining of a passed Site Acceptance Test. In other words, this means that the entire battery system technique and electronic control has been reviewed by experts from the Danish Technological Institute.
It all worked the way it should, so now there is solar power on the batteries that can be stored and used when it fits into the energy system. A new “dashboard” has also been developed, here you can monitor the charge of the battery, solar cell production and consumption at the port.
See the graph below – the green curve shows how much electricity is on the battery. It reached 100% on March 23. The black graph shows how much is bought from the grid, while the yellow shows the solar cell production.
It stays on the island
We have chosen to take control of the Energy Academy’s data storage and the way we communicate internally by installing and using the server solution “Nextcloud”.
“YES WE CAN” – because there are huge opportunities, in terms of supply and protection of data, by using this solution. We actually consider it to be a digital “first mover” step. Some changes take time and are more technical, so our employees first had to understand why we should use anything other than what we usually use. Now that we move our data to the “Cloud”, access is available from anywhere. This means that we have moved data to a server that is accessible from the Internet.
When the server is with Google, it resides globally, that is, with a giant company that has access to all our information. They can use it to target advertisements, for example. But it may also be that it is sensitive data. In fact, it is under completely different legislation.
How can we then ensure that the Danish and European personal data / GDPR legislation under which the Academy of Energy works and follows are also complied with in the USA? We cannot. Maybe we can try to pay Google to comply with Danish law, but they will probably charge a lot.
The alternative is to make your own solution. And that’s what we’ve done. We have made a solution where it all takes place on OUR server on Samsø, instead of on foreign clouds and servers. In this way, the digital footprint remains on Samsø and the electricity used comes from Samsø.
New course in social responsibility6 modules taught across three courses with common focus. The courses are offered each year in September and April. Maximum 18 participants.
The Academy of Energy has great experience in providing courses, which in turn have motivated many local areas to take the matter into their own hands.
And in spite of a constantly changing world and with a myriad of challenges, the consequences of climate change have arisen.
We have gathered all the experience in the curriculum for the new courses.
We offer 3 courses, which can be obtained in about a year and a half, starting in September 2020, and April and September 2021. We operate with three modules, which have the following syllabus:
The first module extends over three days and is about People: Here we teach community, fellowships and the pioneer guide.
In April 2021, the 2nd module, Planet is taught: The Island Society model and democracy.
In September 2021 we address module 3, Prosperity: Carbon accounts and Sustainable Development
Goal 7.We have the experience and we can still remember the factors that created Denmark’s renewable energy island. It was community and knowledge that provide power. You sign up here:
Watch movies from the course https://vimeo.com/353549949
The cracks that make way for the light
New pipes in old lamps should teach us more about the value of recycling. The time has passed for the beautiful lamps at Samsø Energy Academy. But rather than buying new ones, the academy has hired a company, along with a local electrician, to replace the inside. The result should remind all of us to see the value in the existing. And to learn about the latest in artificial light that includes censors and smart house solutions.
The lamp replacement is about challenging our consumption habits. Everyone who has spent more than five minutes at the Energy Academy has hopefully noticed how much daylight falls in. Natural light in skylights that saturate the rooms with warmth and life. Morning and evening, and on cloudy afternoons, we turn on the 36 Danish-designed hanging lamps that give the local community light for their citizen meetings and lectures.
When the Academy rose from the meadow in 2007, dimmable fluorescent lamps were exponents of state-of-the-art technology. But 12 years later, the industry with the spread of LED has taken such rapid steps that the academy has to move to keep up.
But Samsø would not be Samsø if the solution would be to fly 36 new lamps in from China and threw the old ones into the garbage. Hence it was decided to redevelop the existing ones. And with a donation from NRGi’s value pool, the result is now ready to be introduced to the outside world:
The North Island pulls on the night sky
The Night Light project achieves fantastic measurements of the darkness of the North Island, where the night sky comes very close to the locals. The project has now entered its second phase, where the quality of darkness must be measured by the new moon over the next year.
The Energy Academy is the leader of the EU project, which along with locals from the Nordby Citizens’ Association and international forces must make us appreciate and cherish the night’s darkness. We started in January, and the first three measurements have been overwhelming with amazing results and great nature and astronomy experiences out in the dark.
Among other things, these measurements should help to obtain the area at Kragemosen in Nordby Bakker a Dark Sky Park certification with the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).
To measure the quality of darkness, we have acquired a so-called SQM meter, or Sky Quality Meter, which measures the luminance of the night sky – that is, the amount of light reflected from a point or surface in a certain direction. In other words, the SQM meter tells us about the light pollution in a given area. This is also called Skyglow.
So, keep an eye on the updates in Samsø Posten, on our Facebook page and website:
Democracy Island takes responsibility back to the people
We have a very well-functioning, democratic system in Denmark and on Samsø.
We are free and can vote, and we have the right to be free people. But we also have a very strong bureaucratic system that manages the policy that is decided and translates the words into action.
Everything works and runs like clockwork! But maybe it’s too easy! Do we relate to the daily decisions that need to be made?
Do we take responsibility for being sustainable, or do we mostly talk about it and expect politicians to make decisions and “the system” take care of execution? Democracy has turned into a machine!
The idea of a Democracy Island is basically an attempt to give responsibility back to the people. It may sound a little socialist, but it is based on a desire to get a feel for what it means to take responsibility for a community and create a community where there is room for everyone. We work on the project independently – it is not owned by the Energy Academy but gets its own life while living with us and those who run it.
Meetings and activities will be convened on how to continue working on the Democracy Island. Read about the 20 measures that can promote democracy here:
Where is the public anchorage?
Folkedybet is a festival on Samsø in September. It’s about you and me and the community, about the climate fight and about true anchoring – about democracy in our daily lives.
Since we launched Folkedybet last year, more and more locals and friends of the island have become members and participants in topics such as self-sufficiency, sustainability and waste management. All with climate and communities as a focal point.
We use the Energy Academy’s great location in Ballen as a base for a temporary mini community that reflects the new reality. Because Folkedybet is more relevant than ever, now that we must learn from the Corona crisis as well as embed the Climate Council’s recommendations in our everyday lives. We must discuss and debate, but we must also build and plant – and party.
Folkedybet will be a modern fete with space for crafts, art, trade and lots of collaboration across these. Our motivation comes from a serious place, but we can have some fun while finding new ideas for the future and new answers to the challenges. We look forward to a windy weekend in the name of the climate fight and to continue the work over the next few years.
Folkedybet will be held on 4-6. September 2020. You can find more information about the Association Folkedybet on Facebook – and sign up for it.
A community project without an equal!
We want to do it again! What we could then and still CAN!
What if we put our faith into the belief that another dream can be raised with a meeting and learning place that embraces all that the Energy Academy has become today “A Living Society’s Laboratory”?
The building on Strandengen nr 1- 8305 Samsø has had around 33,000 visitors in 12 years.
To investigate what was here before this building was build, we have to go all the way back to 2002. We got a project on Samsø, Samsø Environment and Energy Office was to launch a survey for new job openings on Samsø, supported the Danish government Agency for labor and recruitment.
The project was up and running before the building was erected and the name ‘Energy Academy’ was a reality. At that time, Samsø Environment and Energy Office had a visitor count of approximately 560 people from 7 continents, which the energetic, local energy supervisor initiated from a house rented on Søtoften in Tranebjerg.
When the investigation was completed the result was a surprise. How did all the tourists, politicians and enthusiasts find their way to Denmark and on to the super-cool entrepreneurial project on the renewable energy island Samsø?
Try to consider how the 33,000 visitors made their way to Samsø!
Think about what it has meant that 33,000 people have ordered, bought and paid for energy trips and energy courses with catering and accommodation, yes, they even had to buy a ferry ticket to get to Samsø. An income that have benefited the local business community on the island.
New Australian book
We have a new book on the shelf.
It can be borrowed from the Energy Academy and is titled “Solved!” It is written by Australian political adviser Andrew Wear. With his work he offers optimistic and thought-provoking ideas by taking a closer look at some of the countries that perform best in a specific area, such as social equality or innovation. The first chapter starts with the story of an island – “Samsø”. But in addition to telling the tale of Denmark’s first energy island and the Energy Academy, Andrew Wear also adds interesting information about Denmark’s energy policy by showing how Denmark is one of the leading countries in the field of renewable energy. He manages to put the development on Samsø into a larger framework and even show many more interesting examples of other countries that have solved some of the biggest challenges of our time.
Activities during and after the Corona crisis
We have postponed the New Europe meeting with Stine Bosse and Steen Gade. It should have been held at Klub in Copenhagen – new date will be announced when we know more about the future.
The festival Folkedybet on Samsø is planned and set to take place the first weekend in September. However, we are awaiting the state’s decision in relation to the organization of major events.
Of course, we are thinking of all of you who have moved or cancelled your appointments to visit hold conferences at the Energy Academy due to the Corona crisis.
Call or email us so we can get some new appointments in the calendar in the best possible way when the community reopens.
Remember that we can also set up digital meetings with you and your organization, we are happy to talk online.
We thank you for everything in the 1st quarter of 2020.
What a quarter!