Islands are not only among the favorite holiday destinations in Europe – but they also hold the key to making the EU’s clean energy transition a success. The remoteness and at times vulnerable access to resources from the mainland, along with the effects of climate change, force islands to be creative and bold in finding solutions for their transition to a sustainable energy system and economy.
As outlined in its 2050 long-term strategy, Europe is pursuing the systemic transformation of its energy system in order to become a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate-neutral economy; a task that will take time targeted investment and a mentality shift. At the same time, islands’ energy supply depends heavily on vulnerable, limited-capacity sea cables from the mainland or expensive fossil fuel imports, which represents a burden both for the environment and the economy.
Islands have thus no time to spare; on the contrary, they have a real incentive to kick-start their clean energy transition now, reap the benefits that come with it and act as lighthouses of Europe’s decarbonisation. To this end, the European Commission launched the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative two years ago and established a Secretariat to provide technical assistance to islands ready to embark on a decarbonisation pathway. Additional funding has been and will be allocated to further enable this.
To have a transformative impact, technical and financial assistance must respond to well-identified challenges islands are facing on the ground, and deliver solutions that inform policy and regulation both at EU and Member State level.
To this end, this session will bring together 9 island experts from Croatia, France, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the UK, to present lighthouse clean energy transition projects and share key insights of the challenges and best practice associated with the implementation of such projects, and 6 policy experts to reflect on these challenges and on how policy and regulation can accelerate the EU islands’ decarbonisation.
Participants are invited to join the discussion and vote for the challenges they consider most relevant, reflecting on the presentations of the island experts. Then, policy experts will table proposals to those challenges, while during the closing Q&A panel, the audience will have the chance to address their questions towards the speakers.