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Insuleur general assembly
21 October 2021 @ 15:30 - 17:00
Promoting local insular businesses to participate in the implementation of energy efficiency/renewable energy projects
Technology, policy and finance to boost islands’ sustainable growth
A virtual workshop organized by the Network of the Insular Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the EU (INSULEUR) in cooperation with the Greek Network of small islands, hosted by the Greening the Islands
In cooperation with INSULEUR
Reflecting upon the strengths and weaknesses of island’s energy transition processes, it has become obvious that although it is now widely accepted that they can be frontrunners in the energy transition and showcase innovative solutions in response to the constraints of lacking infrastructure for the energy, water, communication and transport networks, islands are also marked by top-down, highly centralized energy systems controlled by a limited number of corporate actors.
In fact, the rapid deployment of certain RES technologies has led to local opposition movements emerging in numerous island territories. So much so that local communities have been sometimes described as ‘low-carbon labs’ in terms of social acceptance.
Public opposition is seen as a significant threat to realizing the levels of renewable energy deployment foreseen in climate change mitigation policies. The most commonly cited motivations are high local costs compared to perceived local benefits, an inappropriate scale of development, and limited citizen involvement in local energy planning. Other arguments presented by
opponents of large-scale RES projects such as wind farms include detrimental effects to human health, biodiversity loss, landscape degradation, and negative impacts on tourism and property prices. While such opposition is often attributed to oversimplified analyses, the reality is usually more complicated: issues of procedural, distributional, and substantive justice play a crucial role in determining the social acceptability or otherwise of energy projects and are important factors for communities when supporting or opposing RES projects in their area.
Indeed, the social dimension is of equal importance to that of technology and we need to stress the need for institutional responses that are more predisposed to participatory organisational formats. However, this will only occur when enough stakeholders are given the appropriate mix of policy tools, support mechanisms and financing that empowers them to drive project development and meaningfully engage in the low-carbon energy transition and respective policy making.
This workshop aims at exploring how local businesses in particular can contribute to the energy transition through more meaningful and engaged processes in policy making but also in processes of coproduction. It also seeks to address existing gaps in understanding between policymakers and the insular communities they affect by showcasing best practices that would mitigate these aspects.
How can local insular businesses become empowered to drive project development and meaningfully engage in the low-carbon energy transition?
A sustainable energy transition will require governance structures and organizational formats that are both participatory and inclusive and which empower businesses to become full stakeholders in the process sharing in its benefits. Generating new employment and wealth creation opportunities for a majority of local people and businesses would help shape perceptions of trust, especially when related to procedural and distributive justice. It would also contribute to wider discourses on legitimacy which can help promote greater levels of social acceptability in communities that have heretofore remained disengaged and/or skeptical of RES projects and new energy infrastructure, while also favoring RES over traditional fossil fuel configurations.
Our webinar (round table) intends to focus on these issues and examine ways for inclusive participation of local SMEs and Chambers of commerce, as representatives of local businesses which have a special interest in favor of their members, both at the level of shaping Energy transitions plans/agendas and at the level of implementing them.
15.30 Welcome session
- Joseph Borg – President, Insuleur
- Gianni Chianetta – Director, Greening the Islands
- Eleftherios Kechagioglou – President of the Greek Small Islands Network and Vice-President of the European Small Islands Federation
15.45 Main session
Moderation: Gianni Chianetta – Director, Greening the Islands – George Assonitis – Adviser EU Affairs – INSULEUR
- Jan Cornillie – Secretariat Clean energy for EU islands
- Myriam Castanie – RESCOOP
- Representative INSULEUR
- Representative Industry