Greening the Islands has participated at the Clean energy for EU islands forum 2022 in Rhodes, Greece. This year the focus was how to translate the clean energy vision into action.
During the two days forum, island stakeholders explored a wide variety of topics in informative and interactive sessions tackling the clean energy transition on their islands, what they have already achieved, the challenges and opportunities, and their future goals.
The 6th Clean energy for EU islands Forum in Rhodos ended exactly 5 years after the start of the initiative with the Declaration of Valetta and on the day of the RePowerEU launch. More than 100 islanders and experts from more than 25 islands and countries exchanged and discussed about the urgency of a clean energy acceleration on island.
2022 is the European Year of Youth and Gianni Chianetta, director GTI, moderated a discussion on energy security and climate transition in islands with university and high school students.
“In line with the 2030 and 2050 climate targets, fossil fuels must be phased out. To achieve a fast and just transition, islands need to prepare ambitious and inclusive decarbonization strategies while receiving the necessary attention from policymakers, in particular to be provided with enabling financing instruments.” said Chianetta.
The participants in the session imagined a scenario in which, in 5 years, the import of petrol to the islands stops and what should an island do to prepare for such event.
Among the main takeaways, the session highlighted the need to provide educational programs in schools regarding sustainability, energy transition and circular economy through a holistic approach (energy, waste management, biodiversity, equality, climate change mitigation and adaptation) – that is fundamental for all new renewable initiatives. The citizens engagement through local initiativesand the improvement of social acceptance were also discussed in depth, especially how those can be supported by energy communities and local one-stop-shops to foster the ownership of the local transition. A balanced approach to spatial planning when aiming to reduce energy consumption with greater attention to monitoring emissions, and an improvement of the legislative frameworks are much needed on islands. The issues of self-sufficiency and energy independence were also addressed, highlighting their strict connection to the need for higher deployment of energy storage technologies. As for climate action, particular focus was dedicated to oceans and forest preservation for CO2 absorption.
As part of the 2022 forum, participants had the opportunity to visit Chalki island, a member of the GTI Observatory. Gianni Chianetta also took the opportunity to meet the mayor of Chalki, Fragkakis Evaggelos, and the technical chief of the municipality Chantziaras Vasileios. During this meeting they updated on the progress of ChalkiOn, the energy community already established and on benefits gained from the “Chalki – Green Island”, a project that provided measures to achieve an higher sustainability level of the island, such as the installation of a 1MWp PV to better exploit the potential of renewable energies for domestic use, and the installation of a cluster of e-vehicles charging stations and the donation of a small fleet of e-vehicles to the local authorities with privileged discount rates for the purchase of e-vehicles for the islanders.
GTI will continue its cooperation with Clean energy for EU islands to support a fast and inclusive renewable energy transition on European islands and beyond.
Note for the editors
Greening the Islands (GTI) is an innovative organization that supports self-sufficiency and sustainability of islands worldwide. GTI launched the GTI Observatory, a global initiative that aggregates key stakeholders to match island needs and innovative solutions in energy, water, mobility and environmental sectors. The GTI Observatory facilitates the development of shared strategies between governments and corporates.