Report from John Walsh, Chair of ESIN
Bere Island Energy Group with the support of Bere Island Projects Group (BIPG) hosted a visit of Soren Hermansen and Alexis Chatzimpiros from the Samsø Energy Academy and the Clean Energy for EU Islands (CE4EU Islands) secretariat over a few days in late January. Both Soren and Alexis have many years experience of working with island communities in their journey to renewable energy use. The purpose of the visit was to hold a series of meetings with the community to discuss our energy needs and to discuss our plans for the future. Soren and Alexis attended many meetings while they were here which started on Monday evening with a meeting with the energy group to discuss their recently drafted energy management plan.
A meeting with the farming community followed where a great discussion was held about energy needs in the farming industry. On Tuesday they headed to Scoil Mhicil Noafa and met all the children and teachers, who are well educated in climate change and sustainability. Many questions were asked by them and Soren was able to introduce them to his Island home of Samsø. After the school visit they were given a tour of Lonehort fort by Helen Riddell.
Meetings with island businesses followed and Soren and Alexis met with Gerard and Brian at the drydock and then with ferry operators Colum and Brendan. Electric powered ferries are the future of Island transport and Samso’s ferry is a hybrid one. Next stop was with Rachel at the marina where they got a tour of the facilities there.
Soren Hermansen and Alexis Chatzimpiros
The marina on Samsø is powered by the sun and visiting yachts can avail of green energy while there. On Tuesday night a public meeting was held at the hotel where a huge crowd turned out in person and online to discuss future plans for Bere Island which was facilitated by Soren. It was a very positive meeting and Soren and Alexis have really inspired us to make our plans a reality.
Thanks to Marie from the hotel for looking after everyone during the meetings and to Teresa Hall for hosting Soren and Alexis. They were delighted with the welcome they received from everyone during their visit.