Archive for Energy
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.
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!!!”
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!
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.
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!
The event is organized by European island authorities and actors and builds on the outcomes of the 1st Smart Islands Forum hosted by on 21-22 June in Athens, Greece. For more information on the Forum, see http://www.dafni.net.gr/en/archives/250616.htm
Key objective of the event is to present the Smart Islands Initiative, currently supported by 70 island authorities from 13 countries across Europe. Further, during the event representatives from island local and regional authorities will sign the Smart Islands Declaration.
Overall the event will engage EU policy-makers and representatives from local and regional authorities, research institutions, the private sector and civil society on a discussion about islands’ potential to drive Europe’s transition into a low-carbon, sustainable and inclusive economy.
This is a link to five documentary films on five exceptional islands, beautiful and fascinating, but above all exemplary. Farmers, business people, engineers and scientists on these islands have taken on the challenge or revolutionising energy provision – without oil, coal, gas or nuclear power.
The people who live on these islands have been battling against the forces of nature for centuries. Now they intend to use the power of water, the waves, the tides, the wind, geothermal energy and the sun for a better future. These islands are laboratories of hope that are showing the rest of the world how climate protection can be achieved and, above all, that it works.
The Danish island of Samsø, the Canary island of El Hierro, Madeira, Iceland and Orkney in Scotland have discovered pathways to the future without destroying their breathtaking landscapes.
The European Commission wants to boost the transition to clean energy. To this end, it is revising how it uses the financial tools of the Structural and Investment Funds.
As was indicated by DG Energy’s Marie Donnelly during the FOP22 meeting in Marrakech, 14th of November, islands are in the package.
In the Work programme Annex dated 30.11.2016, the Commission urges the Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Investment Bank to consider that “islands and island regions provide platforms for pilot initiatives on clean energy transition and can serve as showcases at international level.” … “The Commission would like to help accelerate the development and adoption of best available technologies on islands and island regions, including exchange of best practice in financing and legal and regulatory regimes, and in energy for transport. The first step is to bring the islands themselves together, regardless of their size, geography or their location.” …
“In the first half of 2017, the Commission will hold a high level meeting in Valletta on the clean energy opportunities and challenges for islands. This will launch a process to support islands in their clean energy transition.” (see page 14 in the Annex attached).