More than 2,000 islanders (a third of the island) travelled to Copenhagen to protest the closing of the historic school.Ultimately, the government allowed the Maritime School to remain open. It provides a third of Marstal's power consumption.Since 1 January 2006 the whole of Ærø has constituted a single municipality, known as Ærø Kommune.
As one of the islands making up the South Funen Archipelago, Ærø is favoured by particularly fine weather.As of January 2013, the solar plant covers an area of 33,300 m2 as a result of an extension under the Sunstore 4 project.Ærø's three district heating systems of solar collectors have won international acclaim.With the recent expansion, the system in Marstal is now the world's largest solar collector system for heating. The wing tip of these turbines is 100 m (330 ft) above the ground and between them the mills cover 50% of the island's electricity consumption.28 January 2015 - The EU Horizon 2020 administration has confirmed that the 17 million € application for a demonstration E-ferry is now in the state of Grant Agreement - meaning that the partners in the Horizon application now have 3 months to finish contracting for the subsidies.
Dating dk 50 Ærø
Ærø is endeavouring to become self-sufficient in energy, and in 2002 a figure of 40% self-sufficiency in renewable energy was reached.The initiatives have attracted high international recognition and Ærø is considered to be one of the world's leaders in the field.The countryside is for the most part gently undulating, and there is a several-kilometre-long stretch of 33-metre-high cliffs at Voderup Klint on the west coast. With its generally low traffic density, Ærø is a popular destination for hikers and cyclists.Ærø measures roughly 20 km from northwest to southeast and varies in width from around 4 to 8 km.
There are three small towns on the island: the largest is Marstal with a population of 2,266. Fourteen villages and a number of farms complete the island's pattern of settlement.
In recent history, the preservation of the area's local heritage has been paramount among residents.
This passion for Ærø was demonstrated in 2000, when the Marstal Maritime School was ordered to close.
King Christian IV's cousin, also named Christian, was the Duke of Ærø from 1622 to 1633, and lived with his concubine Cathrine Griebels at Gråsten Manor House.
When the Duke died, a banner was found at Gråsten composed of nine pieces of cloth and in three colours – body colour, sea green, and golden yellow.