Europe has made great strides in recent years in its focus on renewable energy sources. These three islands received the EU’s RESponsible Island Prize for local renewable energy transition in 2020.
What is the RESponsible Island Prize?
“The RESponsible Island recognition prize rewards achievements in local renewable energy production for electricity, heating, cooling and transport on islands. The name refers to the combination of renewables (RES) and responsibility. Islands often have high local energy costs, but can benefit from the transition to renewable energy sources in many ways. These include the creation of local jobs and opportunities for sustainable tourism. More than 20 million EU citizens live on islands. They are ideal test labs to develop innovative energy technologies and can serve as energy transition models for small communities in general.”
The EU champion for 2020 was the Danish Island of Ærø, which has managed to combine solar and wind energy for its electricity supply. while all public buildings on the island use biomass and solar energy for cooling and heating. In addition, the Danish island is expected to be completely independent of fossil fuels by 2030. The prize that Aero will receive is the amount of 500,000 €.
As for the second prize, it belongs to the island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands in Spain, which covers 60% of its energy needs from renewable sources, while the local authorities offer free charging of electric vehicles. The island of El Hierro will receive the amount of 250,000 €.
The Greek Island of Tilos won the European Commission's third prize for energy-responsible islands in the European Union, as the Dodecanese island of about 400 inhabitants has in recent years managed to lead the transition to a more environmentally friendly and sustainably energy policy. For this reason, Tilos will receive the amount of 100,000 € from the Horizon 2020 program. According to the European Commission, Tilos, thanks to the commitment of the Municipality and the sustainable culture of its inhabitants, introduced an innovative energy model based on solar and wind energy and energy storage in batteries, being a model for other islands and local communities.
Finally, Mariya Gabriel, which is the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said: “Islands can be inspiring examples of how to involve local communities and citizens in realizing the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal. This, together with the transformation of local energy systems with innovative renewable energy technologies, is what the RESponsible Island Prize is all about. I warmly congratulate the prize winners, who will inspire other islands and energy communities.”
You can find the factsheets of each island and more information in the links below: