EU plan to bring clean energy revolution to over 2,700 islands

Published by Sadhbh Lee on

September 19th, 2017

A new EU initiative to bring the clean energy revolution to over 2,700 islands across Europe is set to be launched this Friday in Crete.

The Clean Energy for All European Islands Initiative is aimed at both island nations and small domestic islands, such as the Aran Islands, Inis Bofin, and Valentia Island.

The initiative will look to reduce energy imports for islands and use their own renewable energy potential, creating local jobs and cheap, clean energy.

This Friday’s inaugural forum stems from the Political Declaration on Clean Energy for EU Islands, signed by the European Commission and 14 member states, including Ireland, in May 2017.

The Declaration is part of a larger set of proposals from the EU designed to modernise the European economy while transitioning to a clean energy system. The EU has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 from 1990 levels.

Friday’s event will be opened by the Greek Prime Minister, Alex Tspiras, and Miguel Arias Canete, the European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy.

The forum will examine ways to decarbonise EU islands and how to finance this, as well as showcasing existing best practices and innovative projects from across Europe. The forum will also look towards creating a long-term framework to promote funding and technical assistance for the Member States.

Ireland’s participation in this initiative may open the potential for increased funding and support for groups such as Comharchumann Fuinneamh Oileain Arainn, a community-owned energy co-operative on the Aran Islands.

Pilot projects from the co-operative, run in conjunction with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, have shown that the Aran Islands could become carbon neutral by 2022.

Barry O’Connell, a senior engineer at EirGrid, will present the semi-state’s DS3 Programme at the event, which has facilitated levels of wind penetration on the Irish power system of up to 60 per cent.

There will be no representative for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) at the forum due to conflicting scheduling with an Informal Energy Council taking place this week in Tallinn, the department said in a statement.

“Ireland is a signatory to the Political Declaration on Clean Energy for EU Islands and endeavours to support the initiative and its promotion of clean energy on EU islands,” the statement read.

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Sadhbh Lee

Sadhbh is a junior doctor with a specific interest in the relationship between climate change, global health, and sustainable development.