European Small Islands Federation

Archive for Ouessant

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


Islands of the future


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.

French islands off the grid


The Mayors of Moline, Batz, Sein, Les Glénan and Ouseesant with the Minister

Three french islands are especially energy-minded: Molène, Ouessant (Ushant) and Sein. Not being connected to the mainland grid makes their contribution to the effects of global change associated with fossil energy consumption all too obvious. This has led them to be ambassadors of island energy transition

Last July, on the occasion of the visit of Prime Minister Manuel Valls to Ousssant, the three mayors of Molène, Sein and Ouessant signed a pledge to be using only renewable energy by 2030.

A number of French partners have come to support them: ADEME, the Region of Bretagne, the department of Finistère, the departmental energy union SDEF, companies such as EDF bringing expertise, investments and technical and financial support, ERDF ensuring operational management of island grids, and Sabella, being a great promise with its tidal, underwater turbine and their new partner AKUO Energy Company.

This is why Madame the Minister Ségolène Royal in charge of energy and ecological transition visited Ouessant last Friday May 13 to support the islands with half a million euro in the TEPCV (Territories a Energie Positive pour la Croissant Verte) program, including also Batz and Les Genan in the transition program. It allows many actions for unconnected islands starting in 2018:

– Energy Management Operations (distribution / exchange of efficient appliances: led, water savers, refrigeration);

– Transformation of street light LED lamps (75% reduction in consumption);

– Examples of renewable energy generation;

– Electric Vehicle Charging Stations 100% renewable;

– Insulation of public buildings;

– Awareness-raising operations of residents and visitors to water and energy savings

– A toxic reduction program in ecosystems linked to rodent control (trapping program on Molène and Sein);

– A zero-phyto program on Ouessant;

– And finally the beginning of a source reduction of food waste.

There is a French proverb saying: To believe a thing impossible is to make it so. These French mayors didn’t.


Madame the Minister

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

SABELLA made her first 10MWh


As you might have read in the SMILEGOV report from Ouessant [], an underwater turbine was lowered end of September in the mighty passage du Fromveur, second strongest ocean current along the French coast 2 km offshore Ouessant. After a gradual increase in speed from its connection, the tidal turbine has now generated more than 10 MWh of electricity.
This is a big step in the development of marine energy and a giant step for islands having experienced the most negative sides of oil dependency.

Oljekatastrofer Bretagne

SMILEGOV has landed


The ESIN part of the SMILEGOV project has landed. Thanks to the 15 islands which has been a part of it and the 40 people who has worked in it, there are good results and some very interesting findings. Please have a look at the project presentation (attached) and/or study the complete island energy reports at