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European Regions Week 2020: Islands as pioneers of the Climate Pact and Energy Transition powered by European Islands Facility NESOI

As part of the 18th edition of European Week of Regions and Cities, the European Islands Facility NESOI together with the EU Islands Secretariat and governmental representatives from the Åland islands hosted a webinar to bring forward the question on how local authorities on islands can implement the Climate Pact and find appropriate funding such as proposed in NESOI Open Call.

The EU Climate Pact is an initiative by the Commission for all Europeans to give everyone a voice and space to design new climate actions, share best practices, launch grassroots activities and showcase solutions that others can follow. The EU Islands Secretariat has been a front-runner in connecting islands, fostering networks of regional and national governments to promote Europe’s energy transitions. 

To support islands’ energy transition ambitions, NESOI presented its first open call which offers grants of up to €60k per proposal as well as up to €60K worth of Technical Assistance to help local European islands with their energy transition projects.

Future of energy transition on islands

The EU Islands Secretariat supports the “Memorandum of Split” which seeks to promote the energy transition on islands and to ensure the establishment of a long-term structure for supporting EU islands in their energy transition. The Memorandum was signed by 14 Member States together with the European Commission. The initiative aims to support islands in their transition agendas, promote the participation, engagement and empowerment of citizens, support projects and the exchange of best practices.

The consumers are to be at the centre of the energy transition as defined in The Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (2018/2001/EU) and the Directive Directive on common rules for the internal market for electricity (2019/944). Renewable Energy Communities and Citizen Energy Communities are new agents that in cooperation with local authorities, private organizations and policymakers will accelerate the energy transition process.

Åland islands: citizen engagement

The Åland islands are a great example of what happens when the local public bodies and private entities join forces to innovate an island energy system. The Government of Åland established a joint venture company Flexens Ltd in 2014 to develop the Smart Energy Åland project. The project helped Ålands islands in implementing their energy transition agenda. As a recognition, the island received the European Sustainability Award 2019.

The best practices from Åland islands undercover that the key to transition is citizen engagement, locally feasible sustainability agendas, support for local leadership, and communication made accessible for all stakeholders. Citizens must be included in the dialogue. The conversation is not only between engineers. Transparency especially from higher governance is essential in citizen engagement bearing in mind the motto: “You are working for the people, not against them”.

European Islands Facility at a glance

European Islands Facility NESOI, an H2020 project funded by the Commission, has been collaborating closely with the EU Islands Secretariat since its inception, as it shares the common goal of supporting energy transition on islands.

Launched in October 2019, NESOI operates at local and European level until 2023. The project will allocate 6,2 million euros as grant funding and direct support for the islands. During its two competitive calls for proposals, 60 beneficiaries will be selected to receive Technical Assistance.

The NESOI European Islands Facility’s goal is to unlock the potential of EU islands to become the locomotives of European Energy Transition by mobilising more than 100M€ of investment in sustainable energy projects to an audience of 2.400 inhabited EU islands and give the opportunity to test innovative energy technologies and approaches in a cost-competitive way. 

NESOI Open Call

The NESOI Open Call is accessible for legal entities established in the Member States of the EU and UK, including their outermost regions, but excluding Overseas Countries and Territories (OCR). The eligible islands have a maximum area of 30,000km.

One or more legal entities (consortium) can apply taking into account that private companies need to provide a support letter from a relevant public authority.

The following list of project’s scope but not exclusive is eligible for NESOI Open Call:

  • Lighting
  • Electrical equipment
  • Co-generation plants
  • Deployment of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles
  • Electricity generation and distribution
  • Electricity production from RES
  • Urban sustainable mobility measures
  • Energy storage
  • In general, the ones involved with the energy transition.

As a part of the proposal, the applicants must include a project description and main features, a foreseen impact of the project, the execution and NESOI support, information on beneficiary and island ecosystem

Entities can apply to the Open Call until the 18th of December 2020, at 17:00 Brussels time.

For more information, visit nesoi.eu.