On 5 November 2018, the European Commission and the Government of the Canary Islands co-hosted the 2nd Clean Energy for EU Islands Forum in Lanzarote. The event was organised with the support of the EU Islands Secretariat.
If you weren't there and would like to play back the panel discussions, you can find them here:
Pictures and further materials around the Forum are available below.
The Forum in a nutshell
Set on the beautiful island of Lanzarote, the 2nd Clean Energy for EU Islands Forum created a better understanding of and between the various actors of the clean energy transition on Europe’s islands, and their ambitions.
The conclusion: Island communities have made great strides on the clean energy transition to date, and there are more technologies and support mechanisms available than ever - the focus now must be to accelerate their energy transitions. The key to success: involving stakeholders across all levels of the island community in the process, from citizens and local businesses up to local and regional authorities. By being the architects of their own energy transition, islands can not only transform their own communities, but become role models for Europe as a whole.
No time to lose
Island networks at the Forum highlighted the urgency for Europe’s islands to transition to clean energies, stating that climate change has started to show at their doorstep and particularly small islands are already struggling for survival.
The European Commission’s Director General for Energy, Dominique Ristori, reinforced the need to accelerate the energy transition, and emphasized the importance of making the energy system more accessible for citizens.
Support for islands is at hand
The EU Islands Secretariat launched a call for expression of interest at the Forum. Islands interested in receiving support to plan their energy transition can send their application by 15 January 2019.
How to get it right
One of the key success factors to the development of renewable energy projects mentioned throughout the Forum was the need for such projects to be community-owned, and supported by different stakeholder groups. The experience of islands is that the majority people want clean energy, and that there is a need for local authorities to support their citizens in this undertaking. Some of the islands who already started or who are well advanced in this process showed how a bottom-up approach had enabled them to advance clean energy projects faster and more effectively than they would have been able to do otherwise.
Education was further emphasized as key to a sustainable energy transition. First, as an enabler to achieve the shift in mentalities required for the energy transition, in both for adults and children. Second, as many islands lack skilled workers in the field of clean energies and often have to import the expertise, there is a need for training people on islands in order for them to be able to carry out the technical work around the transition and retain the benefits in the local economy. This would also make the islands more attractive as a workplace, and counter the current trend of people leaving the islands due to a lack of employment opportunities.
Various technology solutions available for islands were presented and discussed at the Forum, showing the wide array of opportunities in the clean energy transition.
The journey has only just begun
Islands from all geographic areas highlighted the need for creative solutions to make the energy transition cost-effective on Europe’s islands, pointing to the challenge that energy monopolies in some countries currently don’t leave room for new actors wanting to enter the market with new ideas.
It was fantastic to see the high level of enthusiasm for the clean energy transition on EU islands across all stakeholder groups from all levels of governance at the Forum. The Secretariat would like to thank all participants for their invaluable contributions, we look forward to strengthening the collaboration and conversations in the coming months!