About the Conference
The International Center for Journalists selected 13 participants to participate in a Seminar on Future Energy: Sustainable Energy for a Low-carbon World in Samsø Island, Denmark on December 11-13, 2009.
Coming amidst the COP15 summit on climate change, the seminar explored the potential for developing energy from coal, oil and gas, nuclear, biomass, wind, solar, efficiency and other means, impediments to growth of each; relative advantages and drawbacks, and how each could help control greenhouse gas levels to avoid warming the globe by more than 2 degrees, Celsius.
ICFJ, with the support of Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the leading producer of wind turbines, covered all transportation and living expenses within Denmark for selected participants.
Denmark's Renewable Energy Island
In 1997, Samsø Island won a contest in Denmark to be designated the country’s renewable energy island. This farming settlement of some 4,300 persons is bunched in villages on an island about twice the size of Manhattan. It is accessible only by ferries from Denmark’s large land masses to the east and west. It had no special expertise or new technologies, yet Samsø’s residents accepted the task of turning away from fossil fuels to using renewable energy.
What they achieved in the next decade is remarkable. With subsidies of less than less than 10 percent of their investments, Samsø residents were able to produce enough renewable energy to put more electric power into the grid than they took off of it. The main source of renewable energy was wind turbines, both onshore and offshore. Residents also invested in solar water heating, biomass district heating and wood pellet stoves and more. They set up an energy academy to showcase what they have achieved, and are experimenting with making biogas and canola oil as fuels.