Prototype Samsø Foundation

Status 19%

Duration: October 2016 – 2030

Samsø Foundation’s programs build on the success of community driven energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy in Scandinavia – particularly on Samsø, one of the world’s leading models for this transition – with 150 years’ knowhow in cooperative development. The proven financial and social impact and return on investment from the Samsø model forms the nexus of Samsø Foundation.

Samsø Foundation goal is to build a global investment fund with the purpose to invest in community power projects to enable independence through cooperatively owned renewable energy.

Samsø Foundation intents to provide project origination and blended financing for energy infrastructure. We aspire to support 100 role model communities in their transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy by 2030. The Foundation is under construction and still a prototype.

Investment principles

Beyond risk-adjusted market rate of return, the fund will select investments that demonstrate the following 3 principles as their success criteria:

  1. Prioritize shared and local ownership of minimum 30%, including
    both private and public partners, of decentral energy commons.
  2. Develop and optimize local loops of energy resources, production
    and efficient consumption.
  3. Foster collaborative and cooperative development and governance.

The fund is presently raising funds with global partners.


Samsø Foundation’s mission is to promote community power and empower local rural communities to build new viable energy commons.

Samsø Foundation’s mission is to promote community power. The foundation works with business, civil society, local government and academia to accelerate communities’ transition to sustainable energy. Samsø Foundation support innovation and development of tools to empower local rural communities to build new viable energycommons.

Circular economy delivers the promise of a resilient future for communities facing economic, social and environmental challenges. Energy is at the heart of that transition. The community power approach encourages economic development while simultaneously supporting environmental and social benefits to the locality. Communities realize significant cost savings as they decrease their dependence on imported goods and increase local efficiencies. At the same time, innovation and job creation spur economic growth. The community-based transition to decentralized renewable energy results in positive environmental impact; while social revitalization, through shared ownership, has proven to catalyze local empowerment and entrepreneurial spirit. The principles of shared ownerships, cooperative governance and sustainable circular production, aid the formation of resilient, self-organized communities with energy commons.

The distributed penetration of renewable energy will open up competitive energy markets to incentivize investors. Integrating smart grid technology, this will enable communities to capitalize on energy markets through crowd-sourcing and cooperative ownership, an established and successful model. SAMSØ Foundation unites local energy commons in a global network organization, with enabling network and scale economies in planning, procurement, and financing. Samsø Foundation brings global investors and local communities together in community power projects.

SAMSØ100 will enable energy commons – and build a global collaborative platform, making it possible for hundreds of small communities to obtain local independence and resilience. Based on cooperative development, crowd-sourcing with global investors, and shared ownership models we empower local communities in seizing control of their energy supply and initiate a social and economic transition of the community.

The Foundation vision is to build and support a global network of community power hubsto service rural communities’ transition to independent renewable energy. A hubis a local partner-organization capable of engaging the community.

Premise: The need for local energy commons

The Samsø Foundation vision is to create 100+ renewable energy commons – sharing a global public resource platform.

The Samsø-model: Commons + Communities = Commonities


Samsø has become world-renowned for its success in transitioning to renewable energy and energy efficiency through the process of engaging and involving the local community.

Samsø Energy Academy (SEA) has been the driver of Samsø’s transition, one of the world’s first co-operative ownership models based on jointly owned energy commons, and enabling communities to capitalize on energy markets and grid ownership through crowd-sourcing

SEA is engaged in more than 150 development projects globally promoting community power, establishing community co-owned energy commons.

With the Samsø Foundation initiative, this engagement is now being scaled with an innovative financial investment models with network externalities for communities like Samsø to become financially, socially and environmentally resilient based on decentral renewable energy infrastructure.


In Samsø Foundation, we work with the notion of Commonities(Commons + Communities = Commonities) – a rethinking of the common space – the commons – in new contemporary communities grouped around concrete investments and operations of the most basic elements of small societies: Energy, food production, water, transport…

We build on the long Scandinavian tradition of cooperatives, public-private-partnerships, and decentralization – and operationalizes 150 years of methodology and know how for new contemporary communities.

We believe that local civil society increasingly will require that power and ownership are shared with the communities. This leads to a demand for methodologies, mindsets, and processes propelling new forms of ownership and local engagement. Companies and public organizations will be held responsible for the needs and opportunities in local communities. They will be met by increasing demands and need to re-orient themselves in relation to the local. “How you serve the local community?” will be a question that will arise in the same way as “How do you handle the climate and environment?” has changed the agenda for many companies over the past 10 years.

Revitalizing the commons, the age old sharing of natural resources that groups of people (communities, user groups) manage for individual and collective benefit, is a global movement. The notion that local engagement can be galvanized by commons can be seen in contemporary projects from natural resource commons such as lobster fishery of Maine and community forests in Nepal, to virtual resources in information commons, digital commons, and knowledge commons. The successful transition on Samsø to sustainable energy by establishing energy commons has proven to catalyze both social and economic development of the local region and community.

Samsø’s application of the Scandinavian dialogue-based and cooperative development model, has proven a strong and resilient model to mobilize local community, build trust and resolve conflicting needs.

Scaling the Samsø model by integrating the tools of the digital revolution and a global network of impact investors, the Samsø Foundation initiative offers structured access to ownership, governance and financing systems.

Hubs – Samsø Foundation’s local partners

Engaging local communities takes boots on the ground

Samsø Foundation connects and collaborates with public private and non-profits to set guidelines and principles

The Foundation vision is to build and support a global network of community power hubsto service rural communities’ transition to independent renewable energy.

A hubis a local partner-organization capable of engaging the community.

Building on our present global partner network, the foundation is engaging existing and building new hubs in all relevant regions.

Present Hubs associated with Samsø Foundation

Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies, Japan: ISEP is a NGO working with Japanese divestment in centralized nuclear and fossil-fuel energy infrastructure towards a distributed renewable energy.

Island Institute, Rockport, Maine, USA: The Island Institute promotes an integrated community-input approach to sustainable development.

Embark Australia, Victoria, Australia: Embark Australia is the leading national community energy organization. That designs and implement a variety of community renewable energy projects.
Sust ‘aina ble Molokai, Hawaii, USA: Dedicated to creating a model of sustainability for Hawaii. The organization is working to convert the island’s energy system to a 100% renewable system supported by community-oriented energy development.

Samsø Energy Academy, Denmark: Samsø Energy Academy has a world-wide reputation for being the leading model of sustainable community development.


Funding: Samsø Energy academy