Harnessing Island Potential: Key Highlights from the FEDARENE 2024 General Assembly

Explore the key highlights from the 2024 FEDARENE General Assembly in Cyprus, including renewed leadership and the expansion of our network.

Harnessing Island Potential: Key Highlights from the FEDARENE 2024 General Assembly

From June 25th to 27th, 2024, over 80 participants gathered in Protaras, Cyprus, for the 2024 FEDARENE General Assembly. Attendees included energy agencies, regional authorities, FEDARENE staff, and officials from Cyprus. As an island, Cyprus served as an apt location for discussing the pioneering role islands play in the energy transition, a recurring theme throughout the assembly.

This edition of the General Assembly will be remembered for its significant milestones and vibrant discussions.

A Growing Network

During the event, we proudly welcomed six new member organizations to the FEDARENE network: DAFNI Network of Sustainable Greek Islands (GR), Dublin’s Energy Agency (Codema – IE), Estonian Islands Energy Agency (EISEA – EE), Friuli Venezia Giulia Energy Agency (APE FVG – IT), Gran Canaria Island Energy Council (CIEGC – ES), and Trento Water Management Agency (APRIE – IT). Additionally, five distinguished individuals joined as members: Dominique Bourges, FEDARENE’s former coordinator; Patrick Biard, Deputy Secretary General and former Head of European and International Affairs at AURA-EE (FR); Maria Fabianelli, former director of the Energy Division of IRE Liguria (IT); Katarina Delsing, former director of Energikontor Norr (SE); and Henri Zibetta, former director of FAC Consult (BE). These individuals have significantly supported our Federation and the Energy Transition in their regions over the past decades, and now they are ready to assist new leaders by offering concrete support to the team and other members. This influx of new members symbolizes FEDARENE’s ongoing vitality and growth, following the addition of six new members last year.

“The good news is that there is a lot of work to do in the next 20 to 30 years to implement European directives at local and regional levels. We welcome the opportunity to work with all FEDARENE Members to achieve this.”

Matteo Mazzolini, Director of APE FVG

Leadership and Vision

This year’s General Assembly also marked the re-election of our Secretary General, Seamus Hoyne, and Deputy Secretary General, Patrick Biard. Their continued leadership reflects our members’ trust in their vision and dedication. With extensive experience in energy and education, Seamus Hoyne, together with Patrick Biard’s commitment to promoting FEDARENE at regional and European levels, will continue to drive our mission forward.

With Maria Fabianelli stepping down, Benedetta Brighenti, President of the Modena Energy and Sustainable Development Agency (AESS – IT), was elected to the FEDARENE Board of Directors. Benedetta now serves as FEDARENE’s Vice-President on Climate Action for Climate Neutral Cities and Regions.

“It’s an honour to continue the legacy of Maria Fabianelli as FEDARENE Vice-President from Italy. We are very proud to be part of FEDARENE.”

Benedetta Brighenti

Innovation and Collaboration

Over the three days, participants delved into critical topics essential for implementing the EU Green Deal in the coming months. Our Energy Efficiency Watch 5 session enabled FEDARENE members, as agents of change for the Energy Transition, to exchange best practices on EU Green Deal implementation. The EU Climate Pact Summit featured discussions on key issues, including energy transition policies in Cyprus, impacts of the Climate Crisis, overcoming bottlenecks in Energy and Climate plans, international cooperation, and forthcoming EU climate policies. The Green Hysland – Remarkable Climate Leaders networking café showcased achievements and explored the pivotal roles of islands and climate leaders in Europe’s energy transition.

Key Takeaways

The word that resonated most throughout the event was ‘Family’. FEDARENE has a tradition of viewing and referring to itself as a family. This family is growing, remaining as strong and close-knit as ever.

This year’s General Assembly was very important to us. Firstly, because we had the opportunity to host Europe’s leaders of the energy transition in Cyprus. Secondly, because we managed to communicate, interact, influence, and inspire each other as a great European family. Following the three-day event in Cyprus, I am even more confident that we can jointly contribute to the fight against climate change and the acceleration of the energy transition.

Savvas Vlachos, Vice-President for Smart and Sustainable Islands:

We are at a key moment for EU policy, at the start of a new legislative and executive cycle. As this General Assembly showed, FEDARENE Members stand ready to support this process and contribute to achieving our shared goals for a sustainable future.