Renewable revolution: Danish isle eyes fossil fuel-free future

(Reuters News, 10 May 2019) Samso has set the world an example by becoming self-sufficient in renewable power, and is now hoping to ditch polluting fuels entirely.

Approaching the tiny Danish island of Samso by sea, the first thing visitors notice are the wind turbines, some rising out of the choppy waters, others towering over lush green fields.

The 21 turbines have brought Samso international environmental acclaim - not only do they cover all local electricity needs, they also offset planet-warming emissions from fossil fuel use in transport, farm equipment and buildings.

Surplus clean energy is exported to Denmark's two main islands, between which Samso sits.

With heating for most homes running on wood chip, straw and solar energy, the island - just 28 km (17.4 miles) long and with fewer than 4,000 residents - uses less clean power than it produces, making its carbon emissions negative.

"If you take all of Denmark, we have... carbon emissions of about six, seven tonnes per capita. At Samso, we have minus three," said Soren Hermansen, director of Samso Energy Academy.

Eleven years after showing the world how to meet electricity needs entirely from renewable energy sources, the island is embarking on the next step.

Dubbed Samso 3.0, it aims to stop the use of fossil fuels completely by 2030, 20 years before the European Union is set to achieve that goal.

Globally, climate scientists have said continued fossil fuel use raised carbon dioxide emissions in 2017 and 2018, threatening a goal of curbing the warming they cause, to prevent rising sea levels and catastrophic weather events.

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Reuters News, 10 May 2019: Renewable revolution: Danish isle eyes fossil fuel-free future