On 28 April 2020 Bornholm was awarded first place and € 500.000 as part of the initiative EU's prize for renewable energy islands launched in 2019 to reward achievements in local production from renewable energy for electricity, heating, cooling and transportation on the islands.
Bornholm has been awarded for the high percentage of energy needs covered by renewable sources, the clear socio-economic and environmental impact that this has entailed and the high involvement of people and communities in the transformation.
About 200 km east of Copenhagen, the over 40.000 inhabitants of Bornholm (588 sq km) had to reinvent themselves after a fish crisis that occurred in the late 90s; and to do so they chose to pursue sustainability. In the past two decades, the islanders have installed more than 35 large wind turbines, in addition to domestic ones, and plants that recover energy from straw, pellets and waste. They also installed smart meters that coordinate their heating systems.
At the end of the last century, the island obtained all its energy from a submarine cable from Sweden and imported oil. But over the years the situation has completely changed. Currently, the cable provides only one third of electricity, while the wind provides 40%, steam from a wood combustion plant 20%, a biogas plant 4% and solar photovoltaics 3%. In addition, 80% of households are heated with a water system powered by the combustion of straw, biogas, wood chips and waste.