Two Danish islands named most sustainable energy islands in the EU

Two Danish islands came 1st and 2nd place in a major EU competition, awarding islands for their innovative renewable energy solutions which can inspire other islands and energy communities.

The Danish island of Bornholm is the first ever winner of the EU RESponsible Island Prize. The Danish island won the title in recognition for its innovative energy solutions and its contribution to a sustainable and climate-friendly Europe, the European Commission announced today.

The award comes with a €500,000 cash prize funded by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme. The second prize of €250,000 went to the island of Samsø, also in Denmark, and the third prize of €100,000 to the Orkney Islands in the United Kingdom.

Denmark is a green pioneer

The winners have embraced a green agenda for decades, putting their communities at the heart of the transformation towards fully renewable energy systems.

Denmark - with Bornholm and Samsø as leading examples - is showing the world how green transformation can succeed in practice. It is the initiative and enthusiasm shown by Samsø and Bornholm that contributes to making Denmark a green pioneer, inventing climate solutions that makes a difference and can inspire abroad.

- Dan Jørgensen, Denmark's Minister for Climate, Energy and Supply

Bornholm: a green test island for renewable energy

The main winner, Bornholm, has engaged all sectors of society to deliver a sustainable island for future generations. Bornholm has the ambition of becoming CO2 neutral by 2025 and a zero-emission and climate-friendly community by 2035.

Led by the regional municipality, the winning team of Bornholm has developed a 100% renewable energy system that combines photovoltaics, wind energy, innovative solutions in waste treatment and combined heat and power from locally produced biomass. In doing so, Bornholm successfully brought together research and innovation with society.

This is by far the biggest recognition of Bornholm as a green test island for renewable energy and innovative technologies

- Winni Grosbøll, Mayor of Bornholm Regional Municipality

According to Grosbøll, the cash prize should preferably be used to create a pool to support the continued green transition. Maintaining it leading green position, Bornholm could attract investments, jobs and tourists.

Samsø: self-sufficient in renewable energy

The Island of Samsø has put its community at the centre of a successful process to switch from imported fossil fuels to local renewable energy, and to become fossil free by 2030.

Samsø has shared knowledge and experience with local communities in Denmark as well as in the rest of the world about how Danish knowledge and technology have resulted in local self-sufficiency in renewable energy, creating jobs and improving the economy as positive side effects.

Open for 2020 applications

Funded by Horizon 2020, the RESponsible Island Prize is awarded in the years 2019 and 2020. The next edition of the RESponsible Island Prize is now open for applications. Applicants can submit their proposals by 29 September 2020.

Discover more about green transition in Greater Copenhagen

If you want to know more about your opportunities in green mobility, cleantech and circular economy in Greater Copenhagen, please contact Djouhara Westberg, Senior Investment Manager, Cleantech & Circular Economy, by email: or phone: 0045 40 22 14 36.