Islands are not only among the favourite holiday destinations in Europe – 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.
In the European Union, rural areas face specific challenges as a result of global trends and further enhanced by the economic crisis. These challenges include 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 also face the most challenges regarding lack of infrastructure. Therefore, these communities might be at risk of energy poverty. FEDARENE supports energy communities which empower citizens, giving them a voice through combining democratic governance with aims to meet social and economic needs of its members and the local community.
FEDARENE’s Islands & Rural Communities Working Group is chaired by our Vice-President Kostas Komninos with the support of Simone Lowthe-Thomas, Vice-President for Citizen Energy Communities.
With the European Green Deal well in place islands 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 climate-neutral future.Kostas Komninos, Vice-President for Smart and Sustainable Islands
Islands and rural communities offer both unique challenges and opportunities in the energy transition. Often, rural communities suffer from Fuel Poverty because of remoteness, lack of infrastructure, lower incomes and higher energy costs because the houses are often inefficient and hard to treat. Local energy models as well as innovative heating solutions must be a priority in rural communities to close the inequality gap and meet net-carbon zero targets in an integrated way.Simone Lowthe-Thomas, Vice-President for Citizen Energy Communities