Islands have specific needs and challenges when it comes to their energy supply and their transition to renewable energy sources and technologies. Furthermore, their geographic situation and climatic conditions set them apart and clearly puts forward the need for a specific approach and structural policies.
This ascertainment has encouraged the European Commission to develop the Clean Energy for EU Islands Secretariat. The initiative promotes the energy self-reliance of islands, encourages the reduction of the dependency on costly imported fossil fuels, and aims to facilitate the delivery of the best available clean technologies to islands. The Secretariat will support up to 26 island communities across Europe in developing clear plans for their energy transition.
The clean energy transition on Europe’s islands has been gaining political momentum at EU-level in the past few years. The signing of the “Political Declaration on Clean Energy For EU Islands” in May 2017 formalised the political commitment of Member States, and was complemented by the launch of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative shortly after.
On 5 November 2018, the Secretariat launched a call for expression of interest to EU’s islands wishing to receive support to plan, prepare or advance their clean energy transition. With Europe’s decision makers set to finalise negotiations on the future of the European energy market by the end of the year, this call for expression of interest is a very concrete step towards advancing the energy transition at a local level.
European Commission’s Director-General for Energy Dominique Ristori said: “The Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative has come of age: by launching today the first call for expression of interest from island communities wishing to receive support, the EU has given a clear signal that the clean energy transition is irreversible. Due to their location, many of our islands have expensive oil-based energy structures which mean that they are still dependent on costly fossil fuel imports. This can change by deploying renewable sources, energy efficiency solutions and innovative technologies. From now on, EU islands will be eligible to receive dedicated support in the coming 18 months, helping them become more energy self-reliant and pushing them towards the adoption of the best available clean technologies.”
3E is managing the technical activities. Achim Woyte, Strategic Consultant at 3E, explains: “It’s impressive to see how many citizens, local businesses and municipalities in different parts of Europe are pushing this forward. We work with these local communities to shape their island energy transition agendas. Moreover, we can check the pre-feasibility of concrete ideas for a clean energy project. And finally, we can assist them with technical and financial knowledge to push some concrete projects further. The islanders I have met are dedicated to innovate and collaborate. But rather than being the lab rats, they want to be in control. I am honoured that we can support them.”
More information on the EU Islands Secretariat and the call for expression of interest are available here: www.euislands.eu