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Clean energy for EU islands forum 2022 - FINAL DEBATE: What does RePowerEU mean for the islands?

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Alexis Chatzimpiros, Project Manager at the Samsø Energy Academy, gave a short introduction of the most important elements of the RePower EU package and a short statement for the islands in their energy transition. 

 

Eero Ailio, Advisor Energy Transition and Local Governance at the DG Energy of the European Commission held a speech about the REPower EU package. There are various pressing problems within the EU that either only emerged or are already fought, like climate change. Energy security and inflation are two topics that came to the fore, especially this year. The EC published a toolbox of instruments to dampen the impact of the energy crisis/prices. The RePowerEU package came out during the second day of the CLean energy for EU islands forum 2022.

There are two objectives for energy saving the first, quick savings through behavioural change and the second, structural energy savings, which are about retrofit/renovation. Furthermore, the energy-efficiency targets were raised in the RePower EU package. It also includes other actions like the removal of subsidies of gas boilers.

The package mentions renewables and sets the new target of 45% by 2030 (compared to 40%). Eero Ailio emphasised that islands have a crucial role in the clean energy transition, because islands have the potential to become independent by using renewables. 

Concerning solar technolgoies, the package contains the new EU solar strategy (new solar rooftop initiative), which is doubling the target. It will be legally binding to install rooftop solar on new buildings. The package also aims to double the deployment of heat pumps in buildings.

These goals go together with the Cities Energy Sprint partly organised by the Covenant of Mayors.

 

Kostas Komninos , General Manager at the DAFNI Network of Sustainable Greek Islands, pointed out that many villages and cities on islands are cultural heritage and thus protected, meaning that PV panels cannot be installed. Additionally, there may not be enough personnel on islands that can install PV plants on roofs. The availability of storage technologies poses another issue. 

To achieve a higher RES penetration on islands, top-down policies need resources at the bottom (for example, small-scale islands).

 

Maria Kottari, Research Associate Climate team at School for Transnational Governance, EUI, sees REPower EU as a long-term investment into our future.

There's a need for a EU wide storage strategy. The RePower EU package also raises questions like how will the investment for the renovations addressed? The Repower EU needs a long term investment plan,

 

Søren Hermansen, Director o the Samsø Energy Academy, focused on the community point of view and what the change in industry means for the islands. Wind power plants are getting bigger and bigger while smaller islands won't need this much power. The market wants scaling – how do we stay in the game. 

How do we translate this Repower EU into local tools? The available tools on the islands must be used. Søren Hermansen states that the EU island secretariat has a role to play in Living Lab Islands. Islands can be test beds for renewable energy technologies and strategies to implement the energy transition. We need to go from asking how to what to why – what is in it for us? This way island communities can be included into the challenge.