Island of Samsø, Denmark

Business opportunities through green economy and energy transition

Renewable Energy


Samsø, a Danish island, is located between Sweden and Denmark in the Kattegat strait with a rural community of about 3800 inhabitants. Beaches and villages are popular destinations but fishing and farming activities are still important while energy is a growing sector.


A region example of how the green economy and the needed energy transition towards renewable energies can create business opportunities, foster collaborations in a coastal-rural community, and improve land-sea synergies via for instance offshore and onshore wind supply.




  • Nature conservation
  • Climate change
  • Public awareness & lifestyle (including food habits)
  • Sustainable economic growth


Following the launch of a competition by the Danish government to support the use of renewable energy in the islands in order to become self-sufficient, the local community (4000 inhabitants) of Samsø became self-sufficient in 10 years. The island previously relied heavily on the flow of tourists in the peak summer months, while traditional occupations such as fishing and farming were on the decline. Through the development of a combination of different renewable energy sources: inland wind farms, offshore wind farms (funded by the islander) solar energy, and biomass, the local economy has been transformed, with most businesses and citizens benefiting from important savings in terms of energy costs, as well as from the expansion of existing businesses (construction, electricians, etc.) and the creation of new ones based around renewable energy production. The island of Samso is now not only 100% self-sufficient in terms of energy production but it has also started to export energy, thereby generating dividends for the more than 450 inhabitants of the island who are shareholders in the different energy production enterprises. The Renewable Energy Island project is now one of the main tourist attractions on the island. The multiplier effect of the renewable energy strategy has, therefore, been felt throughout the local economy. Moreover, the project had positive effects on the quality of air, water, and the terrestrial environment with significant reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases and airborne particles, which has, in turn, benefited the provision of ecosystem services.

Such initiatives help to increase local acceptance of renewable energy projects and contribute to overcoming resistance linked to impacts such as noise or visual nuisance



  • Agro & eco-tourism
  • Offshore energy




  • Lack of cooperation
  • Lack of a scientific/policy interface to support management decisions
  • Sustainable economic growth
  • Lack of information/education


The project included the creation of the ‘Energy Academy’ a project-based organization focused on the consequences of climate change, acting as a physical gathering and meeting place for all kinds of people who are interested in community development. It hosts meetings and gatherings concerning subjects such as education and research, including courses in the field of sustainable development, meetings, seminars, and exhibitions about energy, climate change, and sustainable resources. Samso Energy and Environment Office, Samso Energy Agency, and the Energy Service Samso are also based in the academy and carry out the activities of energy efficiency advice for companies and homeowners, tours – including tours for specific trades and industries – and workshops and seminars. The academy is currently working towards making Samsø 100% fossil fuel free.