The winner of WIN WIN Gothenburg Sustainability Award 2009 on the theme Sustainable Urbanisation was Søren Hermansen together with Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka and Enrique Peñalosa.
Each one comes from a separate continent and they are, locally and globally, knowledgeable, engaged and impatient doers. They are ambassadors for one of the most decisive factors for humanity – the battle for sustainable development in the cities and towns around the globe. These urban environments are already home to half the people in the world, they represent 75 percent of all energy consumption and generate 80 percent of all greenhouse gases. The problems are extremely complex and require urgent but long-term stable solutions.
Søren Hermansen, with a background in environmental studies and organic farming, was as the Director of the Samsø Energy Academy the primus motor and focal point of the foundation of the so-called Samsø Project in Denmark. Samsø, a Danish island with some 4,000 inhabitants, won the national competition on which island that first would become self-sufficient through renewable energy within ten years. Hermansen’s enthusiastic leadership – founded on a grassroots perspective – had at the time resulted in eleven land-based and ten ocean-based wind generators as well as a number of district heating power plants driven by burning hay or wood chips.