'The Great Transition Starting Now! Experiences from Denmark on the Renewable Energy Island Samsø'

Søren Hermansen to present guest lecture Oct. 3

Energy expert Søren Hermansen tells the story of how a community came together to create a future of sustainable energy in his lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3.

The lecture, held in Room 102 of the Franklin W. Olin Building on the Luther campus, is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Since 1997, Hermansen has led the effort to make Samsø Island in Denmark energy self-sufficient for the 3,000 residents living there. His goal is to rid the island of all fossil fuel use by 2030. The island is currently able to heat homes with biomass and solar heating plants, and gets electricity from onshore and offshore wind turbines.

Hermansen notes that it takes a community coming together, local planning, citizens being engaged and national policies set in place to help change the view modern society has of its impact on the environment. It is his goal to allow people to see how they can develop a more sustainable lifestyle that is focused on sharing earth's resources for the good of all, not an individual's private profit.

Living on the island played an important role in understanding and engaging in the community he belonged to. After spending time away from the island to follow education and form his future, Hermansen returned with a renewed interest to make the island life lively, engaged and meaningful. A married father of two, he lives on a small farm near the sea in a renewable energy house that utilizes solar and biomass heating, as well as wind energy electricity.

Hermansen has been the representative of Samsø in a number of international relations, promoting a holistic approach to ownership and public engagement in society and sustainable energy development through workshops and lectures.

In 2008, Time Magazine awarded him the title of "Time Hero of the Environment," and in 2009 Hermansen was the recipient of the Götenborg Award, whose past recipients include Al Gore and Margot Walstrom. In 2010, he became an adjunct professor at Aalborg University.

The successful development of Samsø – the Danish Renewable Energy Island - still is a best practice project for the world, showing that it is possible to change direction and viewpoints of modern society.

The Winneshiek Energy District will host a special energy breakfast with Hermansen at 7:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at T-Bock's Sports Bar and Grill in downtown Decorah for people interested in discussing options for community energy development, such as solar or wind energy options. For more information about the breakfast, contact Craig Mosher telephone 382-4468 or 387-2133.

Søren Hermansen