The island of Tilos in Greece has won the third prize (100,000 euros) of the 2020 edition of the EU RESponsible Island Prize. The Danish island of Ærø won the first prize followed by the island of El Hierro, part of the Canary Islands in Spain. All the winners have shown important achievements in the clean energy transition and in engaging their local communities into the transformation towards fully renewable energy systems.
“Islands can be inspiring examples of how to involve local communities and citizens in realising the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal,” said Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. “This, together with the transformation of local energy systems with innovative renewable energy technologies, is what the RESponsible Island Prize is all about. I warmly congratulate the prize winners, who will inspire other islands and energy communities.”
In particular, over the recent years, Tilos has accelerated its clean energy transition thanks to the commitment of the local municipality and the pro-environmental culture of its citizens. Its innovative energy model with community-scale wind and solar, battery energy storage and advanced energy management will inspire other islands and local communities.
More than 20 million EU citizens live on islands. These islands often have high local energy costs, but they can benefit from the transition to renewable energy sources in many ways, such as local job creation and sustainable tourism. Islands are therefore ideal test labs to develop innovative energy technologies and can serve as energy transition models for small communities in general.
The prize is in line with the Clean Energy for EU Islands initiative, launched in 2017, which provides a long-term framework to help islands generate their own sustainable, low-cost energy. The initiative builds on a political declaration, signed by the European Commission and 14 EU countries with large island populations (Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Sweden) signed a political declaration. As a follow-up, the parties also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in June 2020, to establish a long-term framework for cooperation to advance the energy transition and identify best practices on challenges that cannot be addressed at the island level.