Two Danish islands are the most sustainable in Europe

Bornholm is the second most sustainable island in Europe

The Danish island of Bornholm is the first winner of the EU Responsible Islands Award. The Danish island received the title in recognition of its innovative energy solutions and its contribution to a sustainable and climate-friendly Europe, the European Commission announced today. The prize is endowed with a cash prize of € 500,000, which is funded by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation program.

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Samsoe is the second most sustainable island in Europe

Second prize of € 250,000 went to the island of Samsø, also in Denmark, and third prize of € 100,000 went to the Orkney Islands in Great Britain. The three winners have campaigned for a green agenda for decades and put their communities at the center of the shift towards fully renewable energy systems.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:

Islands can become climate neutral, thriving communities if they invest in green technologies, involving citizens, businesses, scientists and local energy companies. That’s what this award is about. I warmly congratulate the three winners, whose example will inspire other islands and energy communities.

The grand prize winner, Bornholm, has engaged all sectors of society to create a sustainable island for future generations. Bornholm aims to become CO2-neutral by 2025 and an emission-free and climate-friendly municipality by 2035. Under the leadership of the regional municipality, Bornholm’s winning team has developed a 100% renewable energy system that combines photovoltaics, wind energy and innovation. Solutions for waste treatment and cogeneration from locally produced biomass. In this way Bornholm successfully brought research and innovation together with society.

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Samsø Island has placed its community at the center of a successful process to move from imported fossil fuels to local renewable energies and become fossil-free by 2030. The Orkney Islands have overcome a number of energy challenges and are now among the leading European companies in using novel green technologies to decarbonize.

There are more than 2000 inhabited islands in the EU. These islands often have high local energy costs, but can benefit from the transition to renewable energy sources in many ways, such as local job creation and sustainable tourism. Islands are therefore ideal test laboratories for the development of innovative energy technologies and can serve as energy transition models for small communities in general.

The RESponsible Island Prize, funded by Horizon 2020, will be awarded in 2019 and 2020. The next edition of the RESponsible Island Prize is now open to request. Applicants can submit their proposals until September 29, 2020.

>> Bornholm factsheet
>>> Fact sheet about Samsoe

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