Bornholm - The bright green island

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A strategy for carbon-free living

The Danish island of Bornholm is a thriving community and example of low-carbon living.

Its 40 000 inhabitants rely fully on renewable energy from bio-waste, wind turbines and solar panels. They are also switching to green, healthy transport – cycling and walking, supported by new infrastructure for electric vehicles.

Inhabitants and the island’s energy company, Bornholms Energi & Forsyning, have achieved the shift away from fossil fuels, using wind turbines, setting up 1000 new photovoltaic installations and fuelling the local power and heating plant entirely with bio-mass, such as woodchips and straw as well as locally produced biogas. Households have also converted from oil-fired burners to district heating, heat pumps and solar heating. Moreover, the municipality has set up charging stations for electric vehicles and promoted car-free transport through its ‘more exercise, less transport’ campaign.

The island is well on its way to becoming carbon-neutral by 2025. Its success is due to its municipality’s business and energy strategy, based on building sustainable businesses, support for environmentally aware, local, sustainable lifestyles, and smart clean technologies. Bornholm also has a strong tradition of participation in national and international energy research and demonstration projects, including its smart grid (EcoGrid), which manages energy supply from renewables.

Bornholm hopes to inspire energy companies, authorities and other stakeholders to either replicate its initiatives or take them further. It has already inspired other countries and communities: in total, 50 countries have visited Bornholm to learn more about its green transition strategy and solutions.