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The World's First Renewable Energy Island - Samsø, Denmark

In 1997, Samsø residents responded to a challenge issued by the Danish government. The challenge was to be the first town powered by 100% renewable energy. Samsø won the challenge achieving self-sufficiency in sustainable energy and becoming carbon neutral within 10 years.

The push for sustainability was led by Søren Hermansen and his philosophy of bringing the whole community along for the ride is what has driven the transformation. Søren Hermansen says "it is not just about windmills, it's about a community that did good, turned green and actually realized something".

The remarkable thing about this story is that it was achieved because of the efforts of the local community who transformed their own island - 90% of wind turbines on Samsø are owned by residents and 3700 local citizens have personally invested 70% of the total 58 million Euro in sustainable energy. In Samsø they say "windmills are much prettier when you are a co-owner".

Ambassador Tom Nørring says "Denmark is hoping the Samsø success story can be replicated across other parts of the world. Denmark is already on its way to doing this, producing about 40% of its energy needs from wind power and hoping to be carbon neutral by 2050". Ambassador Nørring says "Danes embrace the need to tackle climate change, they have bipartisan support for sustainability goals and embracing renewables has also been good for the economy with Denmark experiencing more than 40% GDP growth since 1990".

Today, Søren Hermansen will be joined by Mr Shane Rattenbury, MLA, ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Professor Ken Baldwin, Director, ANU Energy Change Institute, Ms Liz Veitch, Executive Director, South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence (SERREE) and Mr Lawrence McIntosh, Principal Executive Officer, SolarShare Canberra on a panel to discuss the importance of community engagement in renewable energy projects.

Date: 13 February 2017

Time: 5.30pm - 7.00 pm

Venue: John Curtin School of Medical Research, #131 Garran Road, Australian National University

Media enquiries: Royal Danish Embassy, Michelle Carden, 0437 044 366