Kökar, Chalki, Cres, Maio and Santiago were among the winners of the 7 exceptional islands sustainability projects at this year’s GTI Awards!
Illustration : Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash
As the GTI e_Convention officially closed on 21 October, the 7 outstanding projects for islands sustainability have been awarded the GTI Award. The projects were carried on by the island municipalities/local authorities with partners among six categories (exceptionally, the waste award has been recognized to two deserving projects). The assembled jury was composed of representatives of IRENA, FAO, Insuleur, Glispa, European Commission, Unesco, UN DESA, OCTA, University of Toronto, OTIE.
Sustainable Mobility: Chalki (Greece) – main partner: Energy Community of Chalki “CHALKION”
The Chalki Green-Smart Island project includes the instalment of solar PV systems for the production of green energy, which will cover the energy demand of the residents and businesses of the island. The project is envisioned to save € 260,000.00 per year for the residents’ energy cost thanks to net metering, € 215,000.00 per year for the island utilities thanks to the replacement of thermal energy with renewable sources, and to reduce annual emissions by 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide.
The Municipality of Chalki is a member of the DAFNI, the Network of Sustainable Greek Islands, founder and long-lasting strategic partner of our member Aegean Energy & Environment Agency (AEGEA).
Waste: Cres (Croatia) – main partner: Active Solera
Like in many other small islands, Cres-Lošinj Archipelago’s limited land availability makes waste management difficult and costly. SMO is the first energy-autonomous waste processor using exclusively solar thermal energy to transform carbon-based waste into competitively priced hydrogen coupling Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU). The project is envisioned to turn 27 tons of locally available waste and biomass per day into 2.5 tons of clean, affordable hydrogen, which will be converted into electricity and sold to the grid for the islanders’ consumption.
Our member Kvarner Regional Energy Agency (REA Kvarner) supports the energy transition on the island and contributes to the development of a regional climate and energy policy.
Governance and Inclusion: Kökar (Aland Islands), main partner: ÅBO Academy, supported by the European Commission (H2020)
The Habitability Plan was led by the municipality of Kökar with very strong participation from the community. Residents talked to each other, googled, read, listened, chatted and argued. They had a large number of meetings, lectures, workshops, sub-projects, committee and board sessions, and called in researchers from universities. Most of all, the people of Kökar acknowledged that they are the real experts on their island. That is why they came to focus on habitability: what determines whether they are a sustainable society or not, is whether Kökar is a habitable island. If those who were born and raised there want to stay or move back, if new families move in, if there are children in school, if there is work, housing, marine connections, service and security – then it is habitable. “If there is a mixed population of all ages, genders, origins and opinions all year round we might call us habitable and become long-term sustainable.” Islanders were inspired to organise sustainable tourism, to produce local carbonated water instead of importing water in plastic bottles, and to integrate immigrants in the small society.
The Kökar (Åland Islands) was featured in our webinar “Åland Islands’ Energy Story“.
Water: Maio (Cape Verde) – main partner: Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias
This initiative combines technology transfer, international cooperation and a demonstration of sustainable access to drinking water, to ensure fresh water supply to the population of Ribeira Dom João and Figueira Seca, in the island of Maio, Cape Verde. The output capacity of the seawater reverse-osmosis desalination plant was enhanced and its power consumption was optimized with the highest energy efficiency possible. At the same time, an off-grid solar PV system was installed to supply renewable energy to the desalination plant and remove the use of diesel. Once completed in June 2021, this installation became the first plant of its kind in Cape Verde, resulting in a significant improvement in the quality of life of the residents and the lowest potable water production cost possible, both from the economic and environmental point of view.
Our member, the Canary Islands Institute of Technology (ITC) is the main partner of this project.
Renewable Energy: the Maldives – main partner: Asian Development Bank
The POISED project is a flagship project in the Maldives that introduces a Solar PV – Battery hybrid system with an energy management system and grid upgrades meeting a minimum of 70% per cent of the daytime peak load demand in more than 160 outer islands. The project represents the largest energy sector intervention in the region and a proof of concept that investing in renewable energy is financially sound. The islands are the places where the poor and vulnerable populations in the Maldives live, which makes the project more impactful and meaningful. The project shows how investing in renewable energy helps move away from fossil fuels and secure a sustainable future – reducing gas emissions and dependence on diesel-generated electricity hence curbing the cost of electricity and improving livelihoods including gender-inclusive opportunities for microenterprises and island communities – while helping de-risk renewable energy investments.
Waste: Province of Siquijor (Philippines), main partner: Mother Earth Foundation (MEF)
The Province of Siquijor is the third smallest province in the Philippines. With the continuous influx of tourists and the local economy booming, waste generation and disposal alongside grew. And without a concrete plan and an adequate waste management program, the beautiful island of Siquijor could be soon transformed into an “Island of Garbage”. To prevent this waste crisis, the Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) program of the Zero Waste Islands – Siquijor Project is raising the level of awareness of the people and establishing a proper waste management program, with multi-sectoral Consultation and Training and Information and Education Campaigns. The project has also managed to address the illegal dumping of plastics in the waterways and into the ocean, has empowered people not to burn their wastes, and promoted regulation of single-use plastics.
Agriculture: Santiago (Cape Verde), main partner: Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
The project includes demonstration, optimization and evaluation of the reuse of reclaimed water and promotion of good irrigation practices adapted to climate change and risk situations associated with water scarcity in Macaronesia. Treated water is used to irrigate obtaining optimum yield and maximum protection of the population, environment (soil, water and aquifer) and irrigation system, minimizing the need to modify the quality of water produced by the rural wastewater treatment plant by using the soil as an advanced treatment and optimizing water management. Diffusion of the results is conducted forming farmers and technical people in best irrigation practices. By optimizing the reuse of non-conventional water, resilience to climate change and water scarcity will increase.
Our member, the Canary Islands Institute of Technology (ITC) is among the partners of this project.
Source: Greening the Islands (GTI)