ESIN

European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Energy

New funding for clean energy on islands

Samsö windmillThe European Commission has announced an increase in the budget for Europe’s islands amounting to an impressive 10 million euros.

In Brussels, MEP Tonino Picula met with Cristopher Jones (Deputy General Director of the Commission’s Energy Directorate) who confirmed this information and thanked him for the initiative so far.

The reason for this meeting was the continuation of the implementation of the Preparatory Action proposed by Tonino Picula last year, and for which 2 million has already been approved from the EU budget.

Namely, Picula, together with his colleagues Alfred Sant (MEP from Malta) and Michela Giuffrida (MEP from Italy) from the Inter-Group of the European Parliament for the Sea, Rivers, Islands and Coastal areas, of which Picula is responsible for European Islands, put in place an amendment, following a positive evaluation from the European commission and the European Parliament, ha managed to obtain the aforementioned 2 million euros for the islands.Tonino-1-2

“The goal of this action is to make the islanders [themselves] the leaders in the use of clean energy, to become the models for solutions at a European level. To help them make the most of the electricity they use by using local clean energy sources and thus become more autonomous in regard to their energy supply”, says Picula.

Tenders will be announced next month (November 2017) and funds will be allocated within the next two years. The deadline for applications is January 2018.

#SmallislesThinkbig

ESIN-Orkney

‘Small Islands are “the agents of change”  that can be trusted to make the low carbon revolution happen in Europe’ declared Brendan Devlin, Special adviser to DG Energy,  at the17th  AGM and annual Conference of the European Small Islands Federation.  It was held in Orkney islands on 11-13 September, and contributed an afternoon of talks on the theme of the Smart Islands for the prestigious Orkney International Science Festival.

The Orkney islands are well-known for their cutting edge leadership in Renewable technology, and on Tuesday 12 September, 32 islanders from 13 countries in Europe visited the small island of Shapinsay – 300 inhabitants where a local development trust was set up to bring income to the islanders through wind power. Their wind turbine, “Whorley”  brings  £90 000 annually to be spent on community projects, running a free minibus and electric taxi for islanders and visitors, and a 12 seats ‘out of hours’ ferry to allow islanders more flexibility in their travel to and from Orkney mainland. “ The quality of community engagement is really remarkable here ” enthused delegates from Greece and Brittany, “This is an inspiration to all our island communities.”

Mairtin O Mealoid of Comharchumann Chleire, the island development Cooperative of Cape Clear and Vice Chair of Comhdhail Oilean na hEireann the Irish Islands Federation said ” coming to Orkney and Discovering the Orkney food and produce brand as well as the Danish Island Produce brand was an inspiration. As a small island food producer myself, I am pleased that we are looking to introduce a similar designation for the producers in our small European islands. We have established a working group and intend to have an islands brand up and running in the near future. This will identify authentic island products that meet agreed criteria and will help with marketing and of course additional employment in the food and drink sectors on the islands”….

Best of all, was the quality of the exchanges between islanders from all corners of Europe. They found they had much in common in terms of opportunities and challenges. Discussing these in a formal as well as an informal setting felt to be of huge benefit: “Whenever we meet, we always learn something from each other” says Pia Prost, from FÖSS, the Finnish Southern archipelago, “by developing projects in small clusters and comparing results, we can advance by leaps and bounds.” Camille Dressler, Leader of the Scottish Islands Federation, who was re-elected as ESIN chair said: “We will be taking these results to Brussels next year and in the meantime, we will continue to push for the needs of the smaller islands of Europe to be recognised and addressed, especially in the context of the Territorial Cohesion Policy post 2020 and Brexit.

Camille Dressler, chairman of ESIN

ESIN annual general meeting in Orkney

Frontiers

Frontiers Magazine, editor Howie Firth, has blessed us with a beautiful article crammed with facts on ESIN and the upcoming AGM, see http://frontiersmagazine.org/europes-small-islands-to-gather-in-orkney/ , with stories from Öland, (Sweden), Tilos (Greece) and Sein (France).

Tilos wins the EUSEW 2017 award

Tilos WomenGreek island Tilos (pop 780) is going from oil-based electricity, with an undersea cable from neighbouring Kos, to a battery-based storage system that will turn the island into a resilient RES-based microgrid using only wind and solar power.

For this, it won the EUSEW 2017 award yesterday evening.

Competitors were ESIN represented by Simskäla, one of the Aland islands, and Bornholm in Denmark. Tilos deserves it well, showing how islands can move away from relying on expensive and polluting oil-based energy imports, avoid power cuts and contribute towards renewable energy growth.

Congratulations to Maria Kamma, mayor of Tilos, and all of her 780 islanders!

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Simskäla nominated for the EU Sustainable Energy Awards

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During 2014 and 2015, the two Åland islands Simskäla and Sottunga were engaged in the EU project named SMILEGOV. The project idea was that islands should make their own local energy plan. As a result of the project, Sottunga has been nominated for the EU Sustainable Energy Awards, abbreviated EUSEW http://eusew.eu/about-awards-competition.

Through their national island organisation, the two islands were members of ESIN – the European Small Islands Federation. ESIN islands formed a small islands cluster in Smilegov with Ischia from Italy, Molène, Sein and Ushant from France, Cape Clear, Bere, Arranmore and Aran from Ireland, Ven Vinön and Visingsö from Sweden, Nagu and Iniö from Finland. There were more, bigger, islands in the project (Cyprus, Malta, the Canaries, Samsø, Madeira, Gotland among others), which as a whole was managed by Kostas Komninos from DAFNI http://www.sustainableislands.eu.

One of the Åland islands – Simskäla – is very, very small. Its dry area is 2,000 hectares and its wet area (the sea) is 12,000 ha. It has 35 all-year-residents but a strong identity, partly because the Åland writer Anni Blomkvist wrote a series of novels of her life here which were filmed under the title ”Stormskärs Maja”, depicting the hard times of a late 19-th century woman, married to a local fisherman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lCUK2_W7UA.

Simskäla was quite brave when engaging in the somewhat dodgy ”Smilegov” project, wanting to explore and develop its sustainability. There are two businesses on the island (not bad for a 35-person community): a greenhouse and a pub. Both are run in a smart, locally solved, sustainable way: the greenhouse collecting its energy (heat) from the surrounding sea, the pub breeding its own highland cattle, taking fish from the sea and of course vegetables from the greenhouse.

The pub owner (Mikael Lindholm) also drives the ferry to and from the island and has recently become a member of the Parliament of Åland.

During the project, the island made a Sustainable Energy Action Plan https://europeansmallislands.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/simskala-iseap.pdf. It is in Swedish (made by and for them, not for the EU) but the summary is in English. Their plan is to develop the ferry system, which is the single most energy-consuming object of the island (as on all islands).

Now, Simskäla is short-listed for the final evaluation of candidates for the EU Sustainability Award together with 12 other candidates. There are three categories with separate jurys: “Consumers”, “Public Sector” and “Energy Islands”, as well as a fourth category, “Citizens’ Award” chosen through a public vote.

The prize is awarded during the EU Sustainable Energy Week, held for the 12th time in Brussels on June 19th to 25th. The winners, having made “outstanding innovation in energy efficiency and renewables”, will be announced on Monday, June 19th.

What Simskäla has shown – whether a winner of the EUSEW award on not – is that micro communities, despite their small format, are able to take active responsibility for their future in a sensible, ingenious and sustainable manner. They are a benchmark for ESINs 1,415 islands – and for small communities all over Europe.

Map

Creating new pathways for EU islands

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Chair Camille Dressler represented ESIN at the Smart Islands Initiative launch in Brussels yesterday, saying: “We are proud to have been signing the Smart Islands Declaration: islanders will now be truly empowered to be lead the energy revolution: Thank you DG energy for your support, and massive respect to Kostas and Alkisti from the Aegean Energy Agency for holding the vision right through to this fantastic achievement, a well deserved success!!!”

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The journey of the Smart Islands Intiative starts with the 1st Smart Islands Forum, organized last June in Athens at the initiative of DAFNI (coordinator of the SMILEGOV project, which officially ended in 2015. In SMILEGOV ESIN formed a cluster of 15 small islands https://europeansmallislands.com/smilegov/.

The Forum built on this foundation, offering the opportunity to capitalize on the results of SMILEGOV and broaden at the same time the European family of islands. At the Forum more than 40 representatives of island local and regional authorities and actors from Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK as well as organisations such as ESIN, the European Commission, CPMR, EESC, INSULEUR, GEF and GIZ took stock of islands collaboration over the years and decided to launch the Smart Islands Initiative as a meaningful vehicle helping them embark on a smart, sustainable and inclusive development paradigm! To this end, they started drafting the Smart Islands Declaration and decided to have it endorsed by all Quadruple Helix actors back in their islands, namely public administrations, businesses, academic institutions and civil society actors!

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MEPs Eva Kali Eva Kaili, Salvatore Cicu Salvatore Cicu, Anna Hedh Anna Hedh, Davor Skrlec @davor Skrlec, Jens Gieseke  Jens Gieseke, Neoklis Sylokiotis Neoklis Sylikiotis, Gabriel Mato @Gabriel Mato and Alyn Smyth Alyn Smith at the launch in the European Parliament, March 28.

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A smart island is the insular territory that embarks on a climate resilient pathway, combining climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, in order to create sustainable local economic development and a high quality of life for the local population by implementing smart and integrated solutions to the management of infrastructures, natural resources and the environment as a whole, supported by the use of ICT, all while promoting the use of innovative and socially inclusive governance and financing schemes.

Islands are in the Spotlight

Yesterday the EU Sustainable Energy Week Secretariat got in touch with the Smart Islands Initiative http://www.smartislandsinitiative.eu concerning the Sustainable Energy Awards, which recognize outstanding innovation in energy efficiency and renewables in Europe.

The great news is that an Energy Islands category has been included in this year’s competition, rewarding initiatives to increase sustainable energy security in communities not connected to a wider grid. You can read more about the Awards competition, including the categories, eligibility and assessment criteria on http://eusew.eu. The deadline for applications has been extended by one week to 10 March.

Yet another proof that islands are in the spotlight, says Alkisti Florou at Smart islands Initiative!

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