European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Denis Bredin

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

This quote, often (falsely) attributed to Winston Churchill, fits well to special advisor Brendan Devlin’s ambitions for the meeting arranged in Brussels on the 5-6th of March 2018. The topic was the clean energy for EU Islands Initiative, the purpose was to listen to the islanders and Brendan Devlin has a particular interest in the EU islands’ potential for faster decarbonisation.

DG ENER’s vision is to speed up the EU countries’ move from fossil fuel dependency and they are starting with the islands.

15 million

Setting up a secretariat

Anna Colucci, Head of unit DG ENER opened the meeting which was attended by about 30 participants, representing both islands and EU institutions. How can we make the decarbonizing of all European the islands work? was the question asked, considering that islands are now seen as innovation leaders in this field. The Commission will set up a Clean Energy Islands Secretariat in Brussels. The 2 year secretariat with a budget of 2 millions will carry out benchmarking studies, awareness rasing and capacity building for islands decarbonization plans.

After this period, the intention is to replace the secretariat with an Island Facility through a tender or call within Horizon 2020 which will be worth 10 Millions euros.

A holistic view on energy

It was stressed that the energy concept covers energy in a broad and holistic perspective: it means heating, cooling, electricity, transport on islands and to and from islands as well as blue energy.  It is important not isolate energy from other issues, but to find and use synergies. “Good solutions are welcomed, not only future solutions”, said Brendan Devlin . “What is better might not be what is best, it has to be better than today´s situation.” Highlighting best practice being very important, to that end, presentations from the island of Öland’s biogas scheme and the ambitious wind and desalination schemes in the Canaries were made which elicited very good feedback.

Speakers from DG ENER, DG REGIO, DG CLIMA, DG INNOVATION AND RESEARCH DG ENVIRONMENT, all contributed their various perspectives, including simplification for administrations for new projects (where ESIN has been active) and the obligatory task for member states to have a One-Place-Stop for contacts/new projects.

Small islands are included

The issue of the smaller islands not being visible at NUTS level is taken into consideration as within the NUTs area definition there are only 700 islands when there in fact are 2,000 more, making a total of 2,700.

Denis & Camille.jpg

Denis Bredin and Camille Dressler, ESIN

What do islands want?

The islands were asked what were their main issues:

– ESIN, represented by chairman Camille Dressler and Denis Bredin from AIP/France, said the smaller island communities perspective is really important, making sure smaller renewable energy suppliers had access to the market and were able to reap the benefits locally.

– From the Netherlands, how to involve the user side of the energy issues was the question, It was not all about the supplier.

– The Balearic islands explained their plans for the further development of their ecotourism tax and a goal of total decarbonization by 2050 hampered by lack of national political will.

– The Greek islands would like DG ENER to consider microfinance and project consultation for smaller projects not just big ones as in Horizon2020 as a number of islands are very small and do not have the resources to participate in large projects.

– Storage was the main issue for the Azores.

– Cyprus wanted to see more cooperation between citizens and local authorities.

– The Faroes islands want to decarbonize their fishing fleet.

We appreciated DG ENER’s will to sit down and listen. This two-way discussion was promising, and another meeting is planned after the summer which will include a travel budget. In the meantime, DG ENER wants to hear from as many islands associations and organisations as possible.

There is a difference between listening and just waiting for your turn to speak. Thank you Brendan.

Brendan Devlin

Brendan Devlin, DG ENER

“Water saving project results presented in Zagreb

A project and a team to wish for! Luckily, the second phase is yet to begin! 😉 says Ivan Matic, project officer at Tonino Picula’s office.


The web page will be up and running next week. You will be able to download the book, many more examples of water saving, templates and the eight field studies.


Another excellent island journal

The fifteenth issue of ID-Îles Magazine, as always well edited by researcher PhD Laura Corsi, was published late in December. It questions the social and economic changes that the islands have undergone in the last four years. Entrepreneurs filmed back in 2013 testify to their experience: the gardeners of the island of Groix managed to build their shed, the baker & grocer of the island of Sein took a coffee on the docks, and the manufacturer of weathervanes of Ushant continues his activity, but living on the continent.


Louis Brigand and Denis Bredin

After 17 minutes, we meet Denis Bredin and Louis Brigand, speaking about the tight cooperation between the University of Brest and the AIP (l’Association des îles du Ponant), the development of the islands of Brittany, how they managed to show island life is more expensive on islands ans subsequently obtain additional funding from the Region and the State, and the creation of an island product brand called ”Savoir-faire des îles du Ponant” launched in September 2017.


French island product brand site

The ID-Îles Magazine was a project 2011-2014 in cooperation between AIP and the University of Brest. It continues 2014-2018, thanks to the workshop on island entrepreneurship held on the island of Groix in October 2013 with 120 persons (one third entrepreneurs, one third local politicians and one third researchers). That workshop led to a thirteen-islands joint project coordinated by professor Louis Brigand, including ID-Îles, an internet site with all project documentation, and a monthly 26-minute television programme. You can see all the programmes here:

Groix workshops

Workshop on Groix 2013 with géographers Solenn Le Berre and Mathilde Woillez entouring President of AIP Denis Palluel, professor Louis Brigand and Councellor of Groix Claude Guiader

Greek TV covers the small islands of Europe


Greek journalist Kostas Argyros, seconded by Eleni Korovila and a film team, has been island-hopping around Europe, covering some of its small islands. On Sunday evening, the Greek television program “28europe” showed his 45 minute long report


Such great contributions from islanders Bengt, Lefteris, Tarja, Camille, Christian, Denis, Laurids and Maria. Such beautiful portraits of Skaftö (though Bengt seems a bit mislocated), Prangli in Estonia, Eigg in Scotland, the Åland Islands, Houat and Ouessant in France, Sejerø in Denmark and Tilos in Greece. But not just beauty – Kostas catches some of the important issues regarding life on small islands.

I especially like the interviews with Tarja from Prangli and Maria from Tilos.

tarja maria

All in all: a fantastic portrait of ESIN (the only thing missing is English subtitles).

AIP director Denis Bredin on Smilegov


AIP director Denis Bredin speaks about the SMILEGOV project, especially the financial mechanisms for energy projects.

Three french islands – Molène, Ouessant and Sein – participated in the project.

Energy Planning on Molène Energy check Sein Energy Audit on Ouessant

You can read their energy audits here:, and