Mobilising investment in energy efficiency and renewables is key for Europe's energy transition. In 2017 the European Commission and 14 EU Member States signed a political declaration to launch the new 'Clean Energy for EU Islands' initiative. Its aim is to help islands reduce their dependency on energy imports by making better use of their own renewable energy sources and embracing more modern, socially inclusive and innovative energy systems.
Europe's more than 2200 inhabited islands can be considered living-labs which can deliver a pipeline of energy investment projects across Europe. Energy transitions on islands often benefit from low opportunity costs due to the existing high prices of conventional liquid fuels in contrast to the variety of renewable sources they may have available.
However, despite tremendous potential, too few islands in Europe succeed in developing and scaling up investment packages. A high degree of organisational, technical and financial innovation is needed to reach significant scale. A key gap is the lack of capacity for islands to transform their overall long-term ambitions into a credible set of plan(s) and project outlines, i.e. investment concepts, that serve as the basis for concrete projects. In particular, local initiatives and/or public authorities on islands have limited resources to access the analytic, financial and legal expertise needed to collect additional data and develop an investment programme of scale i.e. pooling projects and/or developing financing strategies which demonstrate sufficient maturity to enable access to different sources of finance often mobilised locally on the island.
In order for islands to be microcosms of economic, social and environmental transformations they may often require assistance in designing coherent set of projects and selecting the most cost-effective option from the life-cycle perspective, aggregating smaller projects into island-size packages and in mobilising the significant amount of finance needed for a full energy transition. This may also include communication and engagement actions among island inhabitants to identify acceptable projects, which also can lead to projects co-ownership and mobilisation of local financing.
The investment concepts would allow a large number of islands and regions to access the various innovative financing streams which are being structured (e.g. PDA, ESIF Financial Instruments, National Investment Platforms), to increase the absorption rates of EFSI and to access private finance.Scope:
Proposals are expected to set up and run a 'European Islands Facility' which offers expertise and/or financial support and services to islands:
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of 10 million EUR would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.Expected Impact:
Proposals are expected to demonstrate the impacts listed below using quantified indicators and targets wherever possible: