European Small Islands Federation

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Islands from above

Looking up at the sky to enjoy the diversity and beauty of clouds is a pastime as ancient as humanity itself. Yet only during the past century—thanks to the Wright brothers and other pioneering aviators—have we had the ability to look down on clouds from above.

A top-down view of clouds has led to important advances in meteorology and atmospheric science. These images shows pictures of the Canary Islands taken from satellites. The first image shows forest fires in 2007, the second image is from 2013.

Forest fires on Canary Islands NASA Aqua 2007Canary Islands NASA Terra satellite 2013

Sometimes satellite pictures show nature’s simple beauty. On May 20, 2015, the MODIS camera on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the third image of several cloud vortices swirling downwind of the Canary Islands and Madeira.

Canary Islands May 2015 B

Theodore von Kármán, a Hungarian-American physicist, was the first to describe the physical processes that create long chains of spiral eddies like the ones shown above. Known as von Kármán vorticesthe patterns can form nearly anywhere that fluid flow is disturbed by an object. In this case, the unique flow occurs as winds rush past the tall peaks on the volcanic islands. As winds are diverted around these high areas, the disturbance in the flow propagates downstream in the form of vortices that alternate their direction of rotation.

You can find NASA images and animations of our planet at

Islands are beautiful not only to live upon but also to observe from far up.

Under stjärnorna


New Island Definition


The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy has provided us with a new definition of the elusive nature of an island, ”being characterised as permanently inhabited with a population of minimum 20, surrounded by saline water, whether or not interconnected by road, power line or any other infrastructure.”

This was created within the context of the ”Islands Initiative” which shall support transition to clean energy on islands.

We most happily acknowledge our European Union has come a long way from its old opinion that an island is not an island if it has fewer than 50 permanent residents, is attached to the mainland by a rigid structure, is less than 1 km from the mainland, or is home to the capital of an EU state.

Thank you Brendan Devlin! It may seem a small step for a European Government official, but it is a giant step for our part of mankind.

Just making sure: basically, an island remains a piece of land surrounded by water.

The island pictured is Kotisaari near to Rovaniemi in Finland, photo Jani Ylinampa. It does not have 20 inhabitants, no electricity, it is in a sweetwater lake, there is a flagpole, a well and a bridge and it is an island and a home to people who deserve our respect and understanding.

Îles du Ponant energy projects interest “Les îles de la Madeleine” Canada – Québec


First stop : Normandy – Chausey archipelago


Jonathan Lapierre, Formal mayor of îles de la madeleine, and members of the american delegation experiments Hydrogen Bicycle in Saint-Lô  – Normandy – F

english description îles du Ponant

A 11 persons delegation from Québec – Canada, involved in energy transition, visited îles du Ponant last november (19th – 26th). After a visit in Normandy (Chausey archipelago), they went to Ouessant to visit new electricity storage system, renewable production units (solar cells & Sabella tidal current turbine). They met all partners involved in energy transition working on electricity consumption reduction, renewable electricity production, storage & energy management system.


French representants including mayors of îles de Sein, Molène et Ouessant & american visitors on Ushant.

The last visit was on île d’Yeu, the french municipality having the national record of electric vehicules density on its territory.




The next step will may 2018 when a “rendez-vous” is organized on îles de la Madeleine

with support of Coopérationlogo coop franco-québec

     France – Québec.

The subject will be    

“renewable energy in isolated territories and islands.”





Ophelia hits Irish islands with 110kph winds


“As the southern most community in Ireland we are expecting to get the first whack off Ophelia in the morning and throughout the day.” says Máirtín Ó Méalóid on Cape Clear Island, and continues “Probably going to be without electricity and possibly various communications systems for a few days given the impending grim forecast.  Everybody stay safe and watch out for others! Ná tóg aon seansanna amadacha!”

Ireland is preparing for what could be its worst storm in half a century when the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia make landfall, bringing wind gusts of up to 110 kilometres per hour.

Ophelia is now a post-tropical cyclone but is still forecast to bring hurricane-force winds to Ireland and the United Kingdom on Monday (local time).

On late Sunday (local time), Ophelia’s maximum sustained winds at 140 km/h with higher gusts. The storm weakened to a category one hurricane as it moved north-north-east across the Atlantic, with sustained winds of 145 kilometres per hour.

You can see her here,36.44,290






‘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

Cast your vote!

The EU Sustainable Energy Awards – EUSEW – recognise outstanding innovation in energy efficiency and renewables. Nominees/finalists are chosen from a shortlist of the year’s most successful projects for clean, secure and efficient energy. This year, in one of the four categories – “Energy Islands” – EUSEW has nominated (1) Tilos, (2) ESIN/Simskala and (3) Bornholm in the category “energy islands”

A high-level jury decides the winner in each of the categories with the help of a public vote. You can cast your vote here:

Finland Simskala Island



The Naming of Storms

PospoderPospoder lighthouse opposite Ouessant, photo Yves-Marie Quemener

A month ago, Norwegian storm ”Thor” hit Sweden while its twin sister ”Gertrude” brought strong winds to Scotland and Northern England with a red warning for wind issued for the Shetland Islands where gusts of up to 105 mph were recorded, delays to road and rail and ferry networks and school closures were widespread.

A few days ago, ”weather bomb Doris” came in over Britain with gales and snow. Continuing to France, she changed her name to ”Zeus” and hit Brittany with  hurricane-force winds. Yesterday, winds reaching 191 km/h (119 mph = 53 m/s) were recorded in Ouessant, 180 km/h (112 mph = 50 m/s) in l’Ile de Groix.

In the beginning, storms were given arbitrary names. An Atlantic storm that ripped the mast off a boat named Antje became known as Antje’s hurricane. Then, in the mid-1900s, people started using female names for storms.

Then, meteorologists decided to introduce a more organised and efficient system, taking names instead from a list arranged alphabetically. The first storm to occur in a year would be assigned a name beginning with A, and so on. Before the end of the 1900s, forecasters used male names for storms forming in the southern hemisphere.

Since 1953, storms in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and the North Atlantic have been named from lists drawn up by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the WMO. The original list featured only women’s names and in 1979, men’s names were introduced – and now they alternate each year. Six lists are used in rotation, so the list for 2016 will be used again in 2022.

When a storm is deemed to be particularly deadly or costly, its name is removed from the list. This is the case of Flora (1963), Gilbert (1988), Hugo (1989), and Andrew (1992). Another name is chosen to replace it at an annual meeting of the WMO Tropical Cyclone Committees.

There are no storms that begin with the less common letters Q, U, X, Y or Z.

Senator Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas argues that current hurricane names are too “lily white,” and is seeking to have better representation for names reflecting “African-Americans and other ethnic groups . All racial groups should be represented,” Lee says, hoping federal weather officials “would try to be inclusive of African-American names” such as Keisha, Jamal and Deshawn (

Meanwhile, ”Zeus” will exit into the Mediterranean Sea and rapidly deepen as it moves toward Italy. We have no records of what her Italian name will be.

Weather MapWeather map 8 of March 2017