Islands & Rural Communities

Islands & Rural Communities

Despite the huge potential of renewable sources for islands, such as wind and wave energy, many of them still depend on expensive fossil fuel imports. 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. Islands are thus not only among the favourite holiday destinations in Europe – they are also testing grounds and often pioneers of the energy transition.

Despite the huge potential of renewable sources, such as wind and wave energy, many islands depend on expensive fossil fuel imports. 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.

Similar to the situation in islands, rural areas in Europe face specific challenges such as an ageing population, high unemployment rates, social disparities and the lack of adaptive potential to the global market. Although rural and sparsely populated areas supply most of the EU’s renewable energy, they usually have a larger carbon footprint than urban communities due to a lack of access to cleaner energy choices. Therefore, these communities face the risk of energy poverty.

Considering the above, rural areas and islands can benefit from the technological development of renewable energy sources. A decentralised energy system where local population take control of their own production and consumption can be a solution to the existing infrastructure and connectivity problems in rural areas and islands. Within this sytem, the application of recent technology such as microgrids or smart meters in rural and island communities can ensure sustainable and inclusive growth. Such opportunities have the potential to make Europe’s island communities innovation leaders in the clean energy transition for Europe and beyond, as the European Commission explicitly recognised in its Communication on the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package.

Objectives

  • Establish a strong connection between FEDARENE & EU institutions for a successful realisation of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative.
  • Share the knowledge of the FEDARENE islands college to ensure that technical and financial assistance, designed to support islands’ decarbonisation, responds to challenges that are well-identified by local and regional authorities and citizens of the EU islands.
  • Increase the regional dimension in debates concerning energy, particularly Fuel Poverty and the implications on wider wellbeing and health.
  • Sharing extensive experience in community engagement and involvement in planning and delivery of sustainable energy projects and behaviour change campaigns.
  • Stimulate local citizen-led initiatives taking ownership of their energy transition.

PEGASUS

The innovative approach of PEGASUS (Promoting Effective Generation and Sustainable USes of electricity) is focused on experimenting a simulation of functioning of microgrids in 7 pilot areas jointly; solutions will be based on concrete situation with real data.

GREEN HYSLAND

GREEN HYSLAND aims to create the first green hydrogen ecosystem in the Balearic Islands (Spain). It will produce, generate and distribute 300 tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year thanks to solar energy on the island of Mallorca.