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Infographic: How one Danish island became 100% energy self-sufficient

Infographic: How one Danish island became 100% energy self-sufficient

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The inhabitants of Samsoe don't use any fossil fuels -- in fact, they export renewable energy to the mainland

(click on the image for a larger version)

It took ten years and $80 million, but the Danish island of Samsoe now produces enough energy to satisfy all its needs and still export 40 percent of its energy to the mainland. Going 100 percent renewable wasn't easy, but the results have paid off handsomely. Farmers on the island who are powering their facilities with wind turbines are seeing a 6 to 7 year payback on those investments. And of course it's remarkable that wind, unlike other energy technologies, is entirely compatible with agriculture.

Here's an interview with one of the island's dairy farmers. His non-chalance about owning enough wind power to meet the needs of an entire village is priceless:

Samsoe only has 4,000 people living on it, giving it the highest per-capita concentration of nearly every kind of renewable on the planet. Its citizens have 11 onshore and 10 offshore turbines. The offshore wind alone produces 28,000 MWh of electricity per year, the equivalent of 690,000 gallons of oil.

The island also makes use of its renewable biomass resource for heating. Three straw-fired plants burn material not used in farming, alongside a 900kw wood chip boiler.

[via SmartCities]

Illustration: GDS Infographics

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Christopher Mims

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Christopher Mims has written for Scientific American, WIRED, Popular Science, Fast Company, Good, Discover, Slate, Technology Review, Nature and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. Formerly, he was an editor at Scientific American, Grist and Seed. He is based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure