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Clean energy for EU islands


Shipyard on Saareema

Island facts

Exact population
Exact density
Exact surface dimensions
Secretariat engagement

Transfers to and from Estonian islands rely on fossil fuels. Current projects explore the possibility of hydrogen or electric-driven ferries and buses operating on green fuels. However, the slow deployment of electric vehicles is due to their high cost, and the number of charging points remains limited. 

CO₂ emissions on the islands also stem from industry and agriculture. In Estonia, specific support systems for renewable energy or energy efficiency on islands are lacking, as are island-specific permitting procedures. The mainland grid consists of 330 kV overhead lines, while Saaremaa, the largest island, uses 110 kV lines. This presents a challenge, especially considering the significant offshore wind energy potential and the country's best solar capacity. 

Despite concerns about supply security on the islands, there is currently no supportive framework for storage, smart grids, or demand response to address the outdated grid capacity. Developers should cover the expenses for connecting energy generation plants to the grid. The business sector remains the largest consumer of energy and contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. However, the business sector's CO₂ emissions have reduced to 36.9%. Private transport now constitutes 32.4% of emissions, while the building sector forms 19.9% of the total emissions. The importance of emissions arising from ferry fuel consumption has increased, whereas local municipal-owned buildings have significantly lowered their environmental impact. 

Other consumer groups have negligible effects on both energy consumption and emissions, accounting for 205,300 tCO₂. A decrease in consumption across all energy sources is attainable. The 30 for 2023 call aims to achieve the following: Analysis of mobility requirements and decarbonization technology, study on microgrid flexibility and integration of Renewable Energy Sources (RES), options for implementing demand response, communication strategy, and analysis of natural resource usage.


Please note that Saaremaa has applied in a joined application with the island of Ruhnu | Clean energy for EU islands (