EU Island Facility NESOI unveils clean energy projects

The EU Islands Facility NESOI, with the objective of facilitating the energy transition in islands, has confirmed support for 28 innovative clean energy projects which, combined, are expected to avoid around 300 kilotonnes of CO2 per year and generate close to €1 billion in investments.

“European islands play an essential role in achieving the Green Deal objectives and making the European Recovery Plan a success,” said Project coordinator Andrea Martinez, from SINLOC Sistema Iniziative Locali. “The number of applications received showed a great commitment towards a greener energy future.”

Announcing the results of its initial efforts to engage European Island communities in its energy innovation programme, the EU Island Facility NESOI noted on May 27 that through its first open call launched in October 2020, the facility received 117 applications from 14 countries involving over 100 islands.

Out of the 117 submitted project proposals, 28 were finally selected to receive support from the facility: a combined total of €1.6 million in the form of technical and legal assistance, and €1.6 million of financial support to carry out complementary studies and action plans. Along with the backing from the facility, the selected projects are expected to generate more than €1 billion of investments from a wide range of stakeholders, EU Island Facility NESOI said in a press release.

The selection, geographically spread across 40 EU islands in 10 countries, includes two projects from the Baltic region, five from the Atlantic region, seven from the West Mediterranean region and fourteen from the East Mediterranean region.

The supported projects have also been divided into three broadly defined “maturity levels”. Seven of the selected projects are at “entry-level”, whereby no previous significant planning has been carried out by the beneficiaries. Fourteen of the initiatives are at a “conceptual design” stage, meaning that the beneficiaries have identified projects of interest to the island, but no substantial groundwork has been carried out to ensure their feasibility yet. Finally, seven projects are at “deployment level”, meaning that the beneficiaries have verified the feasibility of their projects and intend to implement them, the press release read.

Focusing on different energy technologies, the effects of the selected projects on their local energy systems will vary. Almost all projects will involve the production of energy from renewable energy sources, mainly photovoltaics but also from wind, pumped hydro, and tidal energy. Just over half of the selected projects are also interested in two energy storage systems and energy efficiency interventions on public assets.

The selected projects will support the EU Island Facility NESOI environmental and economic objectives as well as contribute to achieving the EU’s broader clean energy targets as outlined in the EU Green Deal. The estimated primary energy savings to be obtained by these projects amount to 541.5 GWh/year, with an average of 19 GWh/year per project. On the other hand, the expected average contribution per initiative in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is by 10.5 kilotonnes of CO2 per year. Combined, the 28 selected projects are expected to avoid around 300 kilotonnes of CO2 per year.

The validation of the selected projects is completed and kick-off activities for several of them are expected to begin next month, the EU Island Facility NESOI said, adding that it will launch a second open call for applications in the autumn of this year.

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