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EU islands pioneers of the Green Deal

This week became history for the Clean Energy for European Islands Initiative: 22 further European islands have now published a clean energy transition agenda, with seven others likely to follow.

The initiative’s four-day-long Clean Energy for EU Islands online forum brought together representatives from many of the EU’s island communities, where speakers highlighted how islands can learn from each other’s experiences. Islands all around Europe had the opportunity to raise the attention to which local actions they are already carrying out or planning. Also, representatives from the EU institutions have outlined the advantages of an EU framework for facilitating cooperation and spreading best practice.

“Carbon-neutral energy systems developed on an island scale may be replicated and scaled-up elsewhere,” said EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. “This gives islands a unique potential to be trailblazers of the European Green Deal. These transition agendas are a testament to the hard work and fruitful collaborations among islanders, both within their communities and across borders. It has been truly inspiring to see what is possible when local people have the power and support to write their own futures.”

Beyond the original six pilot projects announced last year, which included the Cres-Losinj archipelago in Croatia and Sifnos in Greece, there are 22 more new enterings, also from Central and Eastern Europe (three from Croatia and three from Greece).

Europe’s sunniest countries seem to be the flagships of this project, especially Portugal, Spain, Greece and Croatia. From the latter one, more than four islands announced their clean energy transition agenda, including Hvar, the sunniest Croatian island. The islands in the Hvar Archipelago plan to be energy self-sufficient by 2035 and to make this transition one that is driven and owned by the local communities.

On the other hand, the Greek islands of Kasos and Symi developed transition agendas in which they aim for energy independence and active citizen participation while ensuring safe, sufficient and affordable energy access. The other Greek example is the island of Halki which wants to reduce and phase out its dependence on fossil fuels and replace them with alternative and other sustainable energy sources.

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