By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Energy
The Danish island of Samso has become one of the first industrialized places on Earth to qualify as completely energy self-sufficient.
The Danish island of Samsø has become one of the first industrialized places on Earth to qualify as completely energy self-sufficient.
The tiny island -- just 30 miles long and 15 miles wide -- first began its push toward sustainability in 1997. In just over a decade, Samsø erected 21 electricity-producing wind turbines and a heating system fueled by wood chip- and straw-burning furnaces accompanied by several small solar panels.
Eleven of Samsø's turbines are onshore and ten are offshore; all generate one megawatt each. The onshore turbines produce more electricity than the island consumes -- enough to offset 690,000 gallons of oil -- while the offshore turbines produce enough power to handle the island's transportation energy budget.
The island invests excess power in new energy projects.
If that's not enough, the Samsø experiment has also inadvertently transformed the island's workforce into green collar workers. Plumbers and carpenters regularly perform energy-efficient home conversions, and their expertise has allowed them to work on green projects elsewhere, including mainland Europe.
Dec 1, 2009
The Federal and State governments(.) Don't believe me? Do your homework. Check out how much tax there is on one gallon of gasoline. I think I heard it once said that the companies producing the gasoline keep around 5-7 cents per gallon. Taxes (which range from state to state) average between 40 to 60 cents per gallon. If you find that my claims are correct through your own investigation, ask yourselves who is it that is keeping us on the gasoline bottle - especially when it comes to gas guzzlers? Show me unearned profit and I'll show you motive.
Well... My hat is off to the Danes. They used what they had a lot of to their advantage. Now, don't let PETA go there. I hear those wind turbines kill a lot of birds and bats. Now then, let's place bets to see how long it takes before someone implements a wind turbine tax. You know that's what would happen if everyone in the US put one in their backyards. That government would either implement a hefty tax on the turbine parts or a meter reader would come out to read their monthly RPMs, thus taxing the wind. Then, decades later, there would be a study showing how all the turbines are slowing down the planet's winds and killing cute little penguins - the horror! So what really plagues us as people? Greed. Idiocy. Pride. The list goes on. However, still, my hat is off to the Danes.
With the OPEC oil crisis, Denmark looked at itself and realised that 80% of its energy was imported. THis was a national security issue for them. They realised they could be blackmailled by their energy suppliers. As a result, they made the choice to mecome more energy self-sufficient. Now, they produce roughly 80% of their own energy. Every place has it's own resources. You use what you have available around you, and a little creativity. At 57 degrees North, Denmark gets virtual no winter sun, so solar power was not a realistic option. However, Denmark, being a coastal country, has losts of wind, so they chose wind power instead. If you live in a place with very little wind, and it's below the 60th parallel, solar is an option. Israel produces large amounts of its energy from solar and all at relatively low cost. Any place with no sun and no wind and no running water and no temperature differentials, would be difficult to acheive energy self-sufficiency. But the South pole is the only land mass that fits that bill. Therefore, anyone can do it. Of course, "Waste not, want not." As the article says, upgrading homes to make them more energy efficient, what the plumbers and carpenters have been doing, means you need less energy which not only saves you money, but makes the goal of energy self sufficiency all that more attainable. Change those incandescent lights to LEDs. Use a toaster oven or a convection oven instead of that big kitchen oven. If you get a lot of sun, put up solar panels. If you get a lot of wind, put up a wind turbine. If you have a stream running through your property, look at micro-hyro. Cut off the tops of the trees instead of chopping the whole tree down to produce firewood. There are thousands of solutions world wide. Find the ones that work best in your area. The only limitation on projects like these ones is human creativity. If you fear the same can't be done in your area, you're clearly limited.
The biggest point is that "THEY DID IT", and if they can do it so can others. It's not a matter of blowing HOT AIR - they went out and did it. It just shows us mainlanders that it is possible. We just need to stop the whining that about what it's going to cost and just get off of our collective butts and start doing it. Every little thing we do will affect the world and we just have to realize that making an intelligent choice will make all the difference in the world. Look at all aspects of a purchase from the energy used to the garbage that needs to be disposed of. Do you need to drive a big SUV when you need to goto the store a block away by your self or can you take alternate transportation (walk, bike, or mass transit). Green Alternatives and choices are available, it's up to you to make them.
The population of only 4.003... A density of only 36 people per sq K... According to their fact sheet.. each off shore wind turbine can supply the electrical needs for 2,000 households. each land based turbine .. can supply power for 630 households. Not sure how many people per households on the island. assuming average of 3 people per household... 2 land based turbines comes close to meeting their needs for all their households... leaving 9 land based and 11 offshore based turbines to supply all industrial/commercial/transportation needs .. with some to spare for sell to the "mainland"... (correct?) so... a ratio of approximately 20/1 for industrial/commercial/transportation/excess to sell VS house needs. Is this typical?.. (I really don't know). I am having a hard time figuring out how much of this model is applicable to other locations... After all, not all communities have this population density and access to "open spaces" (ocean) for harvesting power. Then there is the ratio of household needs vs other needs, I am sure this changes with the industrial base of the community. Would be good to have some metrics for comparing : Efficiency of technology (at present time) vs population density vs location (appropriate type of renewable energy for location). This would make easier to know when feasibility of a given location is ripe for self sufficiency... or Just knowing which communities are optimum for Return on Investment (ROI). sorta like a SEER rating for a given community? Looked at the site for the other example.. in the Canary Islands.. not enough info to allow comparisons. of course .. I applaud this community's efforts.. all to the good.
Good for them. I am impressed that instead of talking they did it. The ground transportation on the island could be TriTrack Solar and then no fossil fuels would be used either figuratively or literally.
The burning of straw does not emit carbon, it is actually slightly carbon negative because some of the plant stays in/on the ground and all the carbon in the plant comes fromt the atmostphere. They are mostly recylcing carbon. Burning Coal releases carbon because you are not burning carbon that was recently captured, or capturing more carbon to grow more feedstock.
It looks like they started their project back in 1997 with wind turbines. It's taken quite a while, but they seem to be making progress. Now let's get them off burning wood and straw to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Any idea's?
> So what happens to the excess power? Sold (fed back) to the electrical power supplier on the mainland. > Is there a website where we can find out what they are using and how? http://sustainablecities.dk/en/city-projects/cases/samsoe-a-role-model-in-self-sufficiency Sams? Energy Academy: http://energiakademiet.dk/default_uk.asp /gustav
Now imagine that they replace all their oil fueled vehicles with the electric variety the automakers are dragging their feet on producing. This island could be entirely self-sufficient and thumb their noses at the rest of us neanderthals.
"The onshore turbines produce more electricity than the island consumes" So what happens to the excess power?