Samsø, Denmark

Samsø is a small island with a population of 3,724, located eastward off the Jutland peninsula in the Kattegat. Due to its central location, the island was used during the Viking age as a meeting place. Samsø is a green island with lots of agriculture. It is the perfect destination for a bike holiday. The island has over 120km biking routes, flat terrain, and short distances between towns, attractions and shops.

Samsø won a government competition to become a model renewable energy community.

Samsø and energy

In 1997, Samsø won a government competition to become a model renewable energy community. As a result, 100% of its electricity today comes from offshore and onshore wind power and biomass. It also has several biomass-based district heating systems so that 70% of the heat demand is generated by local resources. The island often exports renewable electricity to the mainland. While there is not yet an issue with curtailment of renewable generation in Samsø’s energy system, there are several bottlenecks which present opportunities for better management of locally generated energy. Addressing these issues, by shifting peaks in energy demand for example, can help to stabilise and reduce energy prices for residents, as well as providing a valuable service for the local DSO by helping them to manage and balance the grid overall.

Recently the vision of making Samsø an island ‘free of fossil fuels by 2030’ has become part of a new Danish project. This project has developed scenarios to reduce the island’s heating demand by the installation of heat pumps in the district heating networks, as in buildings that are today heated by fossil fuel-based systems. Ideas for converting transportation to electric transport means and for shifting current biomass consumption from the heating sector to the transportation sector are also considered. The conclusion is that it is possible to make a 100% renewable energy system at Samsø by 2030, using only local electric power generation by wind turbines and PV systems together with the use of biomass resources. Associated costs will stay similar to current costs, but the system could additionally contribute to local jobs creation, considering that the island is already a destination for international energy tourism, and enhance security of supply.

Samsø and SMILE

Places where to first apply some of the new ideas from the project are the marinas on the island.. There are three different marinas in Samsø and the demonstration project will focus on one of those marinas, the marina in Ballen. The energy demand in the marina is very inconsistent as it is dominated by the demand from berthed yachts and associated tourism. This results not only in significant fluctuations on a daily basis, but also significant seasonal variations as tourism has its peaks in the summer.

To solve this issue, the project will seek to implement an integrated energy system at the marina comprising renewable generation (PV and wind) linked to storage (battery and thermal). Links will also be made to transport with EVs, e-bikes and battery storage on the boats themselves. The project will also involve a significant DSM element with building energy management systems. All of these elements will be integrated, not only physically through the energy network, but also through innovative market mechanisms. The idea is to integrate more renewable energy at the site in the form of a solar power system on the pier, and a small wind turbine at the end of the pier. Consumption at the site is higher in summer time, when tourists and boats come to the marina. The energy loads are in the form of electric power to the boats and hot water usage in the service building for showers, etc.

One of the challenges today is related to the actual customers’ payment for energy delivered to the boats, since today they just pay a kind of connection price. In the future the municipality would like to change payment from a fixed fee to a differentiated payment where the customer pays for the actual consumption and where the prices change over the day reflecting the need for flexibility in consumption.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731249.