The Commission plans to decarbonize over 1000 EU islands by 2030 and Local Energy Communities can help achieve this goal. This is the key message of the Public Hearing that was jointly organized by the Smart Islands Initiative and INSULEUR on 10 November.
In an attempt to identify the synergies between the two policy developments, the EESC hearing will bring together all relevant actors, i.e. policy-makers, island representatives and marketIn his introductory speech, Pierre-Jean Coulon, Director of EESC's TEN Section and host of the event, highlighted the need to tap islands potential and support them in their pursuit of sustainable growth. This is at the heart of the Smart Islands Initiative, presented by DAFNI Network's Alkisti Florou.
Brendan Devlin from DG ENER emphasised the added value of LECs in ensuring local communities reap the benefits of smart technologies being deployed on islands, leading to enhanced local ownership and successful delivery sustainable projects on the ground.
Along the same lines, DG ENER representatives Wioletta Dunin and Mikolaj Jasiak provided valuable insights on the crafting of the Electricity Directive and the role of LECs in it, along with the upcoming establishment of the Secretariat and EU Islands Facility, in line with the Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative.
A number of island organizations among which DAFNI Network, Coordinator of the Smart Islands Initiative, ESIN, CPMR and Samso Energy Community shed light on successful innovative and sustainable projects deployed on EU islands, proving how LECs can be a win-win scenario both for RES uptake and enhanced local ownership.
"In Greece not many examples of LECs are in place, yet we hope this changes with the new Law on LECs that will be tabled in the Greek Parliament in the coming weeks and where specific provisions on islands are included", noted Alkisti Florou. Indeed, Greece is setting a positive precedent for other MS on the establishment of LECs and their role in the energy transition.
Overall, the event was a success in that it provided a platform for island representatives, private sector stakeholders and policy makers to discuss and identify synergies between two important developments that are currently shaping the EU energy and climate policy landscape in the pursuit on more open, flexible, citizen-centred and decarbonized energy markets.