Energy Communities for the sustainable local development of islands

The European Commission promotes the energy transition in more than 1000 European islands by 2030 and the Local Energy Communities could contribute decisively to this goal.

This has been the conclusion of a Public Hearing which was co-organised by the Sustainable Islands Network – DAFNI, the coordinator of the European Smart Islands Initiative, and the Network of the Insular Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the European Union, with the support of the European Economic and Social Committee.

Given the multi-insularity of Greece and the Network’s 40 island members, DAFNI is very much interested, this is why it is actively involved in the promotion of Energy Communities at both national and European level.

The Hearing took place on November 10th in Brussels, bringing together representatives of islands that are pioneering sustainable development projects with the active involvement of local communities, representatives of energy cooperatives and companies investing in innovation projects using cutting-edge technologies such as smart grids, as well as EC representatives who are actively involved in policy-making concerning Energy Communities and the islands.

In their presentations, the speakers have highlighted the added value of Energy Communities locally as a guarantee that the benefits of developing innovative technologies across infrastructures (energy, transport, waste, water) in the islands will spill over to local communities, making them sharers and participants in these ventures.

DAFNI Network mentioned the draft bill on Energy Communities currently in the Hellenic Parliament, which includes special measures for the establishment of Energy Communities in the island region. It is worth noting that Greece is the first Member State to proceed with such a legislative initiative, which sets a positive precedent for other countries, especially those with islands.

In addition to DAFNI Network and the INSULEUR Chair, represented by the Piraeus Chamber, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) also participated in the Public Hearing being the most representative organisation considering that it is responsible for managing a total of 32 island systems, as well as the Technical University of Crete.

Finally, the presence of EC representatives was also important. They reiterated the EU’s immediate commitment to establish a Secretariat and then a European Islands Facility in order to finance innovative projects which will help with their energy transition.