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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).
After the Study on island over cost presented to French authorities (Prime Minister) in July 2015, the help of many MP’s and the Bretagne Regional council Chairman (also Minister of French Army Jean Yves Le Drian), the french government proposed to cover the island overcost estimated 4 million euro/year (incuding investment & running costs) for all îles du Ponant island communes.
Yesterday evening, the French Parliement (l’Assemblée Nationale) voted the additional law for this. It still has to be confirmed by Sénat within a few days, but our French member AIP is very confident about this.
The members of the ESIN Board recently received a call for the next board meeting 25/10, two weeks in advance. It gives them the possibility to check the agenda, the issues and the proposals with all of you: board members of national island organisations and islanders on our 1,400 islands. It also makes it possible to translate the agenda into other languages – Estonian, Croatian, Italian…?
In Swedish, the word for island is ö – an o with two dots above, like a french tréma. It is a beautiful word, depicting a small, round island with two lighthouses.
Vinön meaning Wine Island is a small, almost round island in lake Hjämaren in Sweden with an area of 5 square kilometres. There are two buoys showing the way to the island from the mainland harbour: Kalvö and Ramberget (although the dots are under the o).
Vinön has 100 full time residents, 400 part-time residents (90 days/year) and 100 weekend dwellers (50 days/year), making the human pressure 212 persons (not 100 as you might think if you just go for the census figures).
Vinön has recently been well described: first, in the “Smilegov” project 17/9/2015 (https://europeansmallislands.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/vinon.pdf), then in the “How to Read an Island” 10 p University course, when student RoseMarie Hellén made a portrait of the island where she lives.
And what a beautiful portrait it is! She observes the island from different perspectives. It is like a Picasso painting where the artist shows that we do not see objects like a camera – frozen images of life – but from many sides simultaneously, with the present being blurred and blended with memories of the past and the future. Like when a man looks at a woman he loves and what he sees is a mix of remembrances from their youth, of how she looked the same morning and of how she looked just a few seconds ago.
That goes for an island, too. We see it as it was, we see it as it is and we see it as we want it to be. Optimism and pessimism are mixed, facts and feelings are shuffled together, creativity and action mingle.
RoseMarie uses Edward de Bonos concept of six thinking hats to make this many-facetted portrait of her beloved island. Each hat gives a different perspective, a new opening on the same old questions we all share on our islands. It is a beautiful portrait which you can find here: https://europeansmallislands.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/threats-and-possibilities-of-a-small-island-society-in-the-middle-of-sweden.pdf
Arranmore is Ireland’s second largest island, covering 22 sq km with a resident population of just over 500 people and about 1,500 summer residents.
Arranmore was part of the ESIN cluster in the SMILEGOV project through its Energy Committee, made an Energy Plan for 2012-2032 and applied for funding to save energy. Now, the Irish Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment announces that “Arranmore Island Energy Committee has been included as part of 38 community energy projects who are to receive €20m in grant funding through the Better Energy Communities scheme operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.”
The total cost of the project on Arranmore is estimated at €656,962, with a grant on offer of €411,552, to retrofit 47 island dwellings and the community hall on Arranmore, in addition to the upgrade of eight non-residential buildings on the mainland, including four community buildings, a national school and three private service stations.
The private organisations are helping to fund the community projects by donating a percentage of their grant to reduce the cost to communities. The local credit union is providing low cost loans to support the residential elements. Some renewable energy technologies are included in addition to standard retrofits measures.
Today, ESIN received this message by email from Séamus Bonner at the Arranmore Energy Committee:
I am writing with a quick update on the application we were working on for the island earlier in the year. We got some good news in June that the application was successful. Work is continuing at the moment and will hopefully be finished at the end of the month.
The project is to receive €411,000 for a project value of over €650,000. Thank you to yourself and ESIN for your support through the application process.
Best Regards, Séamus”
DAFNI reminds us on its FaceBook page of SMILEGOV, an inspiring and innovative EU-funded project that brought together islands across Europe to work together for the promotion of sustainable development on their territories. The DAFNI Network which coordinated the consortium of 13 partners whereof ESIN was one, recalls: https://www.facebook.com/Dafni.Network/posts/1393866447308153
As reported here on the ESIN blog in February, the Koster islands https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koster_Islands have a “water problem [that] puts an end to everything”.
To solve this problem, a project is describing Koster’s geophysical water resources (“the water of the island”), the human water footprint on the island (“the water of the islanders”) and way the water is distributed, how the system is managed, financed and administrated (“the water of the municipality”). The project’s website is http://kostervatten.com
The project will present a three-level description of the island’s freshwater systems, and a sustainable system solution that takes all three levels into account.
Meanwhile, it is already evident that the islanders need to save water. A first water saving project will start now at the new built hotel “Kostergården”. It will monitor, in real time, how hotel guests use water for different purposes – showering, flushing the toilet, drinking etc. Each guest can follow their own consumption and the consumption of the whole hotel. They will be involved in saving water in a fun and simple way, backed up by information on the ferries, in the hotel reception and on websites. The hotel – and the island – has the ambition to be a benchmark of sustainability among large hotels on small islands.
The project is using professor Andy Bäcker as an advisor. It will by no means be penalizing or pry into people’s private life, just be smart, fun and creative, turning something repressive into something positive as for example the “Speed Camera Lottery” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iynzHWwJXaA did.
Koster island would like to start an “island water lab” project with a handful of other small European islands to explore the possibilities of saving water, both by technical means and by changing human behaviour. Islands who are experimenting simultaneously with smart water management techniques could learn from each other and eventually show others how to save water.
Such islands would typically be under 100 km2 in (land) size, have a maximum all-year population of 1,000 people, have a scarcity of freshwater and lots of tourists.
Interested? Just comment here!