Sociotechnical transition to smart energy: The case of Samso 1997–2030

Jan Jantzen*, Michael Kristensen, Toke Haunstrup Christensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
511 Downloads (Pure)


This case study analyses an ongoing practical transition to a smart energy system. The Danish island of Samso, with 3700 inhabitants, aims for a fossil fuel free energy system in the year 2030. Owing to natural limitations, it is necessary to exploit the available energy sources in a manner, which requires careful planning. Furthermore, civic engagement is necessary for a democratic transition to a smart energy system. Therefore the transition has a social side and a technical side, which is analysed. The analysis applies the causal loop diagram of an urban model in order to explain the inner workings of the island community. The analysis illustrates many planning elements, such as political energy targets, sociotechnical priorities, energy vision, energy balance, energy action plan, and examples of demand-side management. The analysis shows that the current municipal plan is comprehensive, but not coherent. It will be necessary to consider trade-offs, that is, set a goal that would balance housing, jobs, agriculture, tourism, biomass and energy. An open question for further research is whether this insight from Samso can be scaled or replicated to other regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-34
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Civic engagement
  • Commons
  • Energy planning
  • Energy policy
  • Renewable energy systems
  • Smart islands


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