In collaboration with the Green Business Forum of the Wharton Club of Washington, American-Danish Business Council welcomed on the 20th of October approximately 50 guests to hear Søren Hermansen of the Samsø Energy Academy. The audience consisted of members of American-Danish Business Council, opinion leaders and businesses interested in the Green economy. After one hour of speaking and discussion with Søren Hermansen, the embassy hosted an informal reception with networking opportunities between the audiences.
Søren Hermansen is the Director of the Samsø Energy Academy, a former member of the advisory panel to the Energy and Climate Minister (Connie Hedegaard) and an Adjunct Professor at Aalborg University.
Søren is the visionary leader driving the transformation of Samsø into the first renewable energy island. Samsø does not use traditional power stations. The energy comes from eleven land-based wind turbines and four district heating plants powered by woodchips, straw and solar panels. His leadership and communication skills are recognized worldwide. He has been awarded the Hero of the Environment 2008 by Time Magazine, TheGöteborg award 2009, and the Svend Auken prize 2011 (Auken was a former Danish minister of the environment).
During the discussion session a member of the audience asked how to copy the project on Samsø to the US. Søren answered that small communities in the US need to take responsibility themselves and try to control the green project. Empowerment and responsibility are key to any green project. Søren repeatedly pointed out that if the project is run by “outsiders” it is doomed to failure. It must be driven from within the community.
Another participant asked how many power failures had ensued. Søren was able to say that none have occurred because Danish power lines are buried rather than being on wires vulnerable to storms and accidents.
The evening was a great success! Many in the audience were heard to say they had never heard a better speaker and were most impressed with what Samsø has accomplished.
Visit Samsø Energy Academy on http://energiakademiet.dk/2-0/