As part of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy Project, Scottish Islands Federation is delighted to invite you to take part in a webinar that will explore and share working examples on ‘Empowering Islands To Achieve Their Energy And Climate Targets, Scotland & Ireland’. It is planned for Friday 19th June, 13.00-14.45 and you can register here.
The NESOI Islands Facility, part of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative, aims to support and fund island energy transition projects.
Background: Over a number of years, the collaborative work of Island Authorities, Scottish Islands Federation (SIF), European Small Islands Federation (ESIN), Community Energy Scotland and others has aimed to promote to the EU, the unique role and needs of islands in delivering energy transition.
Beginning in 1993 with ISLENET, the first network of island authorities promoting sustainable energy and environmental management, the Pact of Islands and the SMILEGOV project followed resulting in the development of the Smart Islands Initiative and Declaration.
In 2017, in recognition of the particular set of energy challenges and opportunities faced by islands, the EU commission, together with 14 minsters of energy from member states, signed the “Political Declaration on Clean Energy for EU islands”.
The Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative (CE4EUi) aims to provide the catalyst needed to enable Europe’s island communities to become leaders in the clean energy transition.
Clean Energy EU islands Secretariat 2018 to 2020
The Secretariat was set up in 2018 to deliver a capacity building and advisory service and to create a new platform for sharing resources and good practice in island energy systems. Initially running for 3 years, there is a possibility that the Secretariat may be extended until June 2021.
The Secretariat supported 26 islands to develop an Energy Transition Plan, including 6 off-grid islands of Scotland (Eigg, Rum, Canna and Muck, Foula and Fair Isle) and islands within the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum. These plans will make it easier for islands to source funding to take forward their projects through the Horizon 2020-funded Clean Energy Islands Facility.
The Secretariat has developed an Islands Transition Handbook and has delivered a series of Webinars (some coming up over March, April, May).
The Secretariat is also developed an online platform to enable all those involved in island energy transition to connect, learn from and train each other, access experts and capacity building materials and work on their transition agendas together. Islands that have signed up to the Clean Energy for EU Islands Pledge be able to access the platform.
Clean Energy EU Islands Facility 2019 to 2023
Building on the work of the Secretariat, from the end of 2019 and until 2023, with €10M from Horizon 2020, the Island Facility will offer the analytical, financial and legal expertise needed to collect additional data and develop concrete investment plans for islands energy transition.
The consortium that won the contract to administer the Facility is NESOI (New Energy Solutions Optimised for Islands). Working closely with the Secretariat, NESOI will provide concrete support to the energy transition process, both at European level and in the implementation of interventions on (at least) 60 beneficiary islands, including training, technical support, co-operation and funding opportunities:
NESOI will help to leverage financial investment and will provide both direct and indirect support for island energy transition projects. The platform where islands can access support for energy transitions plans, as well as access ideas, tools and finance to support their projects, is currently being developed.
Malta Political Declaration on European Islands
Following on from the Smart Islands Initiative, spearheaded by island local and regional authorities of the Members States signing the Smart Islands Declaration, momentum has been building up for national and European support for islands in Europe.
In the frame of the informal meeting of Energy ministers that took place in Valetta under the 2017 Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU, Ministers of 14 Members States including from Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Italy, Croatia, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Finland and Estonia signed together with the European Commission a political declaration to launch the new “Clean Energy for EU Islands” initiative.
Unfortunately the UK was not represented, although Scotland is very much at the forefront of the Renewable Energy revolution. However these policies have the support of the Scottish Government, and Scotland through S.I.F. and the Islands Councils in the CPMR are actively representing local and regional stakeholders.
Clean Energy for EU Islands” initiative.
The initiative builds on the Commission’s “Clean Energy for All Europeans” Communication of November 2016. The overall goal is for the EU to become a low carbon economy via transformation of its energy system by
- putting energy efficiency first
- achieving global leadership in renewable energies
- providing a fair deal for consumers
To start the transition process in the EU, the Initiative aims at first accelerating the clean energy transition on EU islands, by helping them reduce their dependency on energy imports through enhanced exploitation of their own renewable energy sources and uptake of more modern and innovative energy systems.
Members States expressed their full support to the Initiative as a stable, long-term framework that will help support replicable and scalable projects through the provision of financing and technical capacity for islands.
To this end, they invited other countries to join and:
- accelerate the clean energy transition on EU’s 2700 islands
- help islands reduce dependency and costs of energy imports by using RES
- embrace modern and innovative energy systems
- improve air quality and lower greenhouse gas emissions
The Chania Inaugural Forum
The island of Crete hosted the Inaugural Forum on the “Clean Energy for All European Islands” initiative, part of the Winter Package, that was tabled by the European Commission last November under the title “Clean Energy for All Europeans”.
The Forum was organized by the European Commission and the Greek government with over 200 participants and close to 40 speakers taking the floor, representing an overwhelming endorsement by political representatives of national, regional and local level as well as industry and civil society stakeholders. Community Energy Scotland was invited to present the access project in Mull and other pioneering Scottish projects.
The islands are now widely recognised as platforms for pilot initiatives and showcases for success stories. Islands are:
- innovation leaders for integrating local RES production, storage facilities and demand response;
- demonstrating how decarbonisation creates resilient energy systems via reduced reliance on fossil fuel imports, the protection of environment, and autonomy of energy supply
- showing that energy transition can be a driver for economic development (new local jobs, new business opportunities, self-sufficiency of island communities)
The next measures are a Clean Energy Package to create the right legal framework (RES, consumers and stability for investment and a two directional approach for facilitation of transition and “island-frontrunners”: top-down and bottom up, as well as cooperation with national/regional organisations of islands
The EU commission has an ambitious objective: 1000 EU islands decarbonised by 2030!
A Clean EU Energy Islands Secretariat
The call for a Clean Energy EU island secretariat is a first step to ensure that islands can become platforms for pilot initiatives on clean energy transition and showcase success stories of islands’ transition at international level. The next step is to set up an Island Facility under Horizon 2020 to support the comprehensive energy transition in preparatory and implementation phase.
Based in Brussels but reaching out to the islands, the Secretariat’s aim is to carry out a benchmarking study on energy systems on islands and to assist the islands to design and prepare decarbonisation plans by providing dedicated capacity building, technical assistance and advisory services.
- It will create and manage a platform of exchange of practice for islands involved clean energy projects through a dedicated website which will also offer web-based tools to facilitate networking and exchanges.
- It will also organise Islands Initiative forums and islands technology fairs to bring together all interested parties including investors, to share best practice in financial and regulatory tools and promoting best available technologies, with the aim to take action on the ground.
- It will concentrate on identifying and executing clean energy projects that create local employment, community empowerment, as well as support growth in tourism, agriculture, fisheries and other important economic sectors on the islands through lower local energy pricesS.I.F. and ESIN are part of a bid to run the secretariat fronted by the CPMR, together with Community Energy Scotland. Their bid is the only one fronted by island organisations and is supported by the Scottish Government. The winning bid will be announced by July 2018.
4th Atlantic Stakeholder Platform Conference, Glasgow
If the potential of the blue economy is to be realised, strategy must be based on local need and local communities must be key stakeholders – this was the message from Jerry Lundy, Committee of the Regions.
The Atlantic Action Plan was adopted in 2013 with the aim of revitalising the marine economy in its five partner nations – France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK. The Plan has four priorities:
- To promote entrepreneurship and innovation.
- To protect, secure and enhance the marine and coastal environment.
- To improve accessibility and connectivity.
- To create a socially inclusive and sustainable model of regional development.
The Action Plan was an invitation to the private sector, the research community, regional and national public bodies and others to develop projects based around these four priorities. A Support Team was set up to offer guidance, project development support and to help find funding for projects.
Each year a stakeholder conference facilitates networking, helps identify project partners and scope funding opportunities. As current chair of the Atlantic Strategy Group, the UK hosted this 4th conference in Glasgow which focussed on the 4th priority ‘Regeneration across Generations: socially inclusive sustainable development of the European Atlantic seaboard’.
The lack of dedicated funding was highlighted as a key challenge – trying to identify the most appropriate funding stream and then going through the complex and lengthy application process has made it very difficult for small-scale innovative projects to get involved.
Some of the projects coming through are fantastic and it’s well worth having a look through the 17 that were nominated for awards to see if any are relevant to your own community. Projects involving Scotland include:
- Cool Route: increasing marine tourism and its reach into local economies along a new route from Cork to Tromsø in Western Norway.
- Circular Ocean: tackling marine pollution by looking at ways to use discarded fishing nets including in 3D printing, waste water treatment and reinforcing building material.
- TAPAS: Tools for Assessment and Planning of Aquaculture Sustainability.
- ATLAS: developing new tools to better explore the Atlantic ecosystem on a trans-Atlantic scale.
- Smart Fish: development of a new electronic tag to monitor seafood from harvest to plate.
At the event we heard about the Bio Base North West Europe project that has brought together a range of partners to provide financial, technological, training, networking and political support to enterprises innovating in biobased products and processes – one project that has been helped to get off the ground is Celtic Renewables which is developing next generation biofuel using waste from malt whisky production.
One project achieved a special award for reaching so many people across different communities and generations. Set up by a small group of women, the IAIA Association of Solidarity Needlework (IAIA means granny in Spanish) is a non-profit organisation offering “Yarn Therapy” in nursing homes, senior centres, schools etc. Families donate balls of wool and a network of over 400 volunteers knit, crochet or use other needlework to make blankets and items that are then donated to refugees. In 2015/16 the group decided to knit for a blue cause: to protect our marine environment and celebrate the World Oceans Day – 300 blue blankets, 3,000 scarves and 1,000 endangered knitted animals were produced and showed in schools, day care centres, museums and at the Ministry.
Workshops attended at the event included:
Year of Scotland’s Coast and Water 2020: marine tourism has been identified as a key growth area and a range of projects were highlighted – Cool Route, West Coast Marine Tourism Collaboration led by Argyll & the Isles Tourism Co-operative, development of a Maritime Skills course at Argyll College UHI, Sail West Project and the Hebridean Whale Trail. The difficulty of balancing growing tourism with local infrastructure and conservation was highlighted – ‘identity mapping’ was a technique used in Holland to put the local community in control of development.
Community-led Local Development: opportunities for fisheries communities and co-operation: Scotland’s whole coast is covered by Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) but very few projects are coming forward for funding – only 33 in Scotland compared to Ireland’s 190. Information for each country can be found from the support unit FARNET.
‘Small Islands are “the agents of change” that can be trusted to make the low carbon revolution happen in Europe’ declared Brendan Devlin, Special Adviser to DG Energy, at our 2017 European Small Islands Federation annual conference.
Over 10 to 12 September, 32 islanders from 13 European countries gathered in Orkney to discuss and learn from good practice on a range of topics including island produce and branding, tourism, sustainable transport, renewable energy and smart islands.
Discussion on island branding was facilitated by Douglas Watson of Connect Local and we learned of the journey behind the growing success of Orkney’s strong branding.
‘coming to Orkney and discovering the Orkney food and produce brand together with the Danish Island speciality brand was an inspiration. As a small island food producer myself, I am pleased that we are looking to introduce a similar designation for the producers in our small European islands. We have established a working group and intend to have an islands brand up and running in the near future. This will identify authentic island products that meet agreed criteria and will help with marketing and of course additional employment in the food and drink sectors on the islands’ – Máirtín Ó Méalóid of Oileán Chléire (Development Co-operative of Cape Clear Island) and Vice Chair of Comhdháil Oileáin na hÉireann (The Irish Islands Federation).
Amongst other highlights were learning visits to the small islands of Shapinsay and North Ronaldsay. The community-owned wind turbine on Shapinsay generates around £90,000 each year for island projects and subsidises a community mini bus, electric taxi and an out of hours ferry service to give islanders more flexibility in their travel to and from the Orkney mainland.
The final day saw the ESIN AGM, followed by an afternoon of talks around the themes of Smart Islands and the Clean Energy for EU Islands programme.
Best of all, was the quality of the exchanges between islanders from all corners of Europe. Everyone found they had much in common in terms of opportunities and challenges and all came away feeling inspired, energised and very impressed with Orkney.
‘We will be taking the AGM and debate to Brussels next year and in the meantime, we will continue to push for the needs of the smaller islands of Europe to be recognised and addressed, especially in the context of the Territorial Cohesion Policy post 2020 and Brexit’ – Camille Dressler, Chair of SIF and ESIN.
The event was hosted by the Scottish Islands Federation in collaboration with the Orkney International Science Festival. SIF members from Fetlar, Bute, Cumbrae, Barra, Eigg, Luing, Mull, Rowsay, Egilsay & Wyre, Stronsay and Mull were able to take part thanks to support from the Community Learning Exchange which contributed to the learning visit to Shapinsay.
You can read the report from the learning visit and some of the presentations below:
To be an island should not be a problem but a pillar of development!
This was the strong message delivered by CPMR President Vasco Cordeiro (and President of Azores Government) on 9 March 2017. He also said: “we must speak very clearly and very loudly about the islands’ needs.”
The CPMR Island Commission’s AGM 2017 was hosted on Gozo, Malta’s smaller island, and brought together island regions from the North to the South of Europe to look at the future of Cohesion Policy post-2020.
Islands must think globally and act locally
As an observer member, the European Small Islands Federation, represented by its chair, Camille Dressler, also chair of the Scottish Islands Federation, was extremely pleased to see some very strong principles being reiterated by the minister for Gozo in particular
- Islands must think globally and act locally
- One size does not dictate all nor add value to a nation.
- It is important to bridge the gap between the EU and policies
- It is crucial to get rid of bureaucratic barriers and help micro, small and medium size enterprises through changes to State Aid rules for islands and a rise in De minimis level at least in line with inflation.
- The Cohesion Policy, as a fundamental pillar of EU construction, must act as a forward looking policy bringing EU citizens together
- There must be a new way to look at shipping issues
- There should be social policies for the islands
- There should be special funding packages for the islands
- To serve the islands adequately, there must be a place-based approach to the EU Development and Territorial Cohesion Policy.
The future of the EU and the islands
Eleni Marianou, the CPMR islands Commission secretary, was very clear on what had to be done in response to Mr Juncker’s White paper:
- The CPMR needs to make a response to the EU White Paper and respond to the key challenges of competitiveness, investment and Territorial Cohesion.
- It needs a strong voice and think of target audiences: EU institutions, National governments, EU Regions, Citizens and Young People.
- Response includes making the case for EU cooperation based on CPMR principles of balanced Territorial Principles, solidarity between the EU and its regions, championing the position of regions in EU policy-making.
- CPMR needs to prepare for a strong lobbying campaign prior to and during the EU parliamentary elections in 2018- 2019
The islands’s access to the Single Market is not equal to that of other regions.
The presentation by Ioannis Spillanis from the University of Aegean Island and Local development laboratory made the following points:
- 3.4 %of EU population live on islands. Their access to the Single market is NOT equal to the access enjoyed by other parts of the EU.
- Insularity has a negative aspect on businesses and people and Brexit will make it worse by reducing the number of islands in the EU and the overall funding share.
- EU Sectoral policies are without differentiation
- For the islands to realise their potential, EU policies need to include insularity clauses.
- For this reason, a new island typology is needed. Current indicators are woefully inadequate: new indicators are required to describe the islands situation as the classification used in NUTS2 and NUTS3 is not good enough. (NUTS 3 islands are drowned in the NUTS2 areas)
- To achieve the EU’s principles of Territorial Cohesion and Sustainability, the development model needs to be changed to include Equal opportunities for the islands and Green island policies.
Entreprise on islands needs an innovative approach from the EU
INSULEUR president Georgios Benetos showed how islands are left behind from the business point of view:
- No economy of scale for the islands
- Added costs of insularity need to be taken into account
- Access to credit and finance is more complicated on islands
Fundamental changes in the way the EU could support the islands:
- VAT should be lower as it is already on some islands (Corsica, Heligoland) whereas there is no VAT in the Faroe islands.
- There should be a lower level of taxation for islands to help small and medium enterprises as well as micro-enterprises.
Islands need support as well as a Can Do approach
MEP Myriam Dalli who is involved in supporting Blue Growth projects, agreed that islands do need support, and the way to get it was to demonstrate a Can Do approach.
Islands at the forefront of renewable revolution
The presentation by the Western Isles Council showed how the islands could become Energy Positive Islands by investing in their potential for renewables. Bornholm ‘s vice mayor presented the island Bright Green Future. Kostas Komninos built on that concept by presenting the Smart Island Initiative to be launched in Brussels on 28 March.
Corsica to lead on post 2020 negotiations and insularity clause
Gilles Simeoni, President of the Executive Council of Corsica, was unanimously elected as President of the CPMR Islands Commission (CPMR-IC).
Following his election, President Simeoni said: “The months and years to come will be decisive not only for our islands but also for Europe, in the context of a very marked internal and international crisis”.
He identified the need to put islands at the heart of Cohesion Policy and suggested that an insularity clause should appear in transport, tax policies, waste management and energy.
From a purely Scottish Point of view, it was gratifying to discuss with Mr Simeoni how the Corsican team had come to Scotland to meet with Cal Mac to look at the way they are structured and with a view to replicate the C-Mal and Cal Mac model!
The CPMR IC position
The CPMR Islands Commission, which represents all of Europe’s island regions, has reiterated that islands and outermost regions are unique because of their remoteness.
The Islands Commission has called for the termination of the traditional perception that islands are too different from one another to justify policy measures at EU level.
While debate on post-2020 policies is emerging, island regions across Europe have called for the EU to develop a strong post-2020 Cohesion Policy with a robust territorial dimension which would earmark specific funding to assist island and outermost regions reach the EU objectives.
The CPMR-IC would welcome a constructive dialogue with the European Commission in 2017 ahead of the legislative proposals for post-2020 Cohesion Policy.
Furthermore, it has urged the European Institutions to correct the glaring exclusion of islands from the legal recognition of different territorial typologies that is currently being debated.
Click here to access the speeches and presentations made at the Gozo 2017 AGM.
Islands: Part of the solution to Europe’s 2030 Climate and Energy Challenges
As Europe moves towards the implementation of its 2030 climate and energy agenda and the broader Energy Union objectives, the European electricity sector fully recognises that islands will play an important role in ensuring their success. In this context EURELECTRIC organised a Workshop entitled “Islands: Part of the Solution to the 2030 Climate and Energy Challenges” in Brussels on 20 February 2017.
During the workshop, EURELECTRIC launched a report entitled “Towards an Energy Transition on Europe’s Islands” which highlights the energy situation of European islands. The report is an attempt to synthesise some of the flagship projects pioneered on several islands and showcasing sustainable solutions to the challenge of advancing energy transition efforts on islands. It also proposes how the positive experience from these projects and more systematised effort towards similar projects could be further streamlined to address the unique challenges faced by islands’ energy systems.
The focus of the workshop would be to present some of these success stories but also engage relevant stakeholders in a debate over how to take forward the positive but isolated impact of these projects in a more coordinated manner. In the age of rapid energy system decentralisation, renewables deployment, system smartification and digitalisation, solutions offering answers to challenges on islands are of value to decentralisation issues faced on the mainland as well. The workshop is a first step towards identifying areas requiring further European action as well as opportunities to islands as test-beds to technologies and services, which may prove key to unlocking energy challenges on the mainland.
Check Euroelectric for upcoming events!
Orkney’s naval past is very much in the spotlight at the moment. However its future as a local hydrogen economy is also firmly in focus, with the recent launch of the ‘BIG HIT’ hydrogen project.
This major EU-funded project builds on the CES-led Surf ‘n’Turf project which is creating an opportunity for the community-owned wind turbine on Eday to generate power which would otherwise be impossible owing to the constraints on the Orkney grid. BIG HIT extends this idea to include local members Shapinsay Development Trust along with existing partners EMEC, ITM Power, Orkney Islands Council and Orkney College and new partners from elsewhere in Europe. Surf ‘n’ Turf, funded through the Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund is progressing well.
The BIG HIT project in Orkney stands for ‘Building Innovative Green Hydrogen Systems in an Isolated Territory’ and is an EU-funded Horizon 2020 joint project. The project, led by Aragon Hydrogen Foundation in Spain, sees us partner community member, Shapinsay Development Trust, and other partners, EMEC, Orkney Islands Council, as well as Scottish Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association, ITM (UK) and a number of international partners.
The BIG HIT launch took place in Kirkwall recently and welcomed partners from seven European countries, meeting face-to-face for the first time and hearing how community-owned renewables can produce clean hydrogen for road transport and heating public buildings.
BIG HIT is funded through €5m (around £4m) from the European Commission’s Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. Its aim is to install and demonstrate the viability of a supply chain for hydrogen in an island territory. Many of the technical challenges in making hydrogen from renewable electricity have already been overcome by Surf ‘n’ Turf, a project in which CES is leading, and has already attracted Scottish Government investment of £1.2m.
SMILEGOV Summary Report for Scottish Island Federation AGM December 2015, Terry Hegarty, SMILEGOV project officer
The Scottish Islands Federation (SIF) has recently completed involvement in a 30 month European project to support more effective approaches to strategic energy planning and development of sustainable energy projects on islands.
The SMILEGOV project’s acronym derives from ‘Smart Islands Governance’, a critical consideration for island communities aspiring to sustainability. The capacity of individual islands to comply with European energy targets widely depends upon collaborative planning and effective participatory engagement of key stakeholders. These typically include agencies of both local and central government, island community and business interests, land owners, energy companies, regulatory bodies and technology specialists.
Scotland offered a distinct model
Elsewhere in Europe, Municipal or Regional Authorities commonly lead development of sustainable energy projects and plans for islands. SIF has thus participated alongside 11 other networks spanning 163 island authorities throughout the Baltic, Mediterranean and Atlantic regions and beyond, nearly all represented by local government personnel. The ‘community NGO’ model for leading developments on Scottish islands with which SIF has worked is quite distinct and evidently of interest to some other consortium members, motivating a study group of Estonian Islanders to visit Mull in June 2015.
Parallel programmes of themed island energy workshops arranged and reported throughout Europe have effectively pooled information, knowledge and perspectives to enhance capacity for development of island energy plans and projects throughout SMILEGOV’s ‘clusters’.
Energy priorities for Islands
Energy priorities facing Islands were identified, drawn together and addressed, through SMILEGOV consultations and reports completed (or in the pipeline):
- Business Models
- New Technologies
- Smart Grids
- Permit Processes
In Scotland constraints facing island energy projects in Scotland notably include:
- Grid constraints
- Accessibility of data to inform plans
- Planning constraints
- Local capacity to lead developments
- Consistency of government support
Best practice highlighted
Through SMILEGOV, difficulties, best practice and achievements have also been highlighted. See the SMILEGOV case studies of the project website at www.sustaianbleislands.eu.
SIF worked with Community Energy Scotland (CES) to monitor, support and report on progress of a number of individual energy projects within our cluster of Scottish Islands.
8 energy audits completed for Scottish islands
Inspired by SMILEGOV, and also supported by CES through Local Energy Scotland, SIF initiated a separate project to facilitate Island Energy Audits for participating Scottish islands. Each of eight resulting reports presents useful baseline data to inform more effective approaches to energy planning at island level. Follow up activity is already being pursued in the cases of Iona and The Small Isles
Islands as test beds
Due to the generic nature of energy challenges facing islands, it is increasingly recognised in Scotland as elsewhere, that islands may serve as valuable test beds for emergent technologies, and proving grounds for more effective multilateral approaches to strategic local energy planning for sustainability.
Argyll and Bute Community Renewables Opportunity Portal (CROP) now up and running, is providing a really successful model of presentation and integration of renewable energy information for use by community groups.
The CROP pages on the Argyll and Bute website takes you to a well thought out process to help communities identify the right project for them.
From CROP Introduction to CROP Basic, CROP Benefits, CROP Support to CROP FAQ, there is plenty of information to get going.
Useful tools on these pages are the matrix which identifies which technologies might be most suited to the community, and the flowchart to help guide communities through the development process which they are considering.
Anaerobic digestion, Wind energy, Biomass, Solar, Heat pumps and Hydro are the main technologies presented, each with their relevant pages.
There is also a comprehensive list of organisations that can help and support, presented in a structured way for easy access. This was very much a result of the CROP consultation, where it became apparent that communities and individuals could get lost in the myriad of advice and guidance on renewable energy already available online.
CROP has succeeded in providing quick access to relevant and reliable information for the reader, whether they are new to the topic or not.