EU island supported by the EU secretariat

Technical and regulatory guidance for EU islands moving towards clean energy

European islands: from fossil-fuel importers to energy transition leaders

Due to their geographic and climatic conditions, islands face some specific energy challenges and opportunities. Energy provision is expensive and heavily reliant on petrol. These challenges can be transformed into opportunities. That’s why the European Commission set up the Clean energy for EU islands initiative: to make Europe’s island communities innovation leaders in the clean energy transition, and to help islands generate their own sustainable, low-cost energy.

The EU islands secretariat, the platform for the clean energy transition

3E has been leading the EU islands secretariat in the past years. The secretariat acts as a platform to exchange best practices, provides dedicated capacity building and advisory services to islands, and advises the Commission on policy and regulatory issues for clean energy transition on islands. The secretariat collaborates with a large number of local, regional and (inter)national authorities, academia and citizens, in order to move from clean energy vision to concrete actions.

A workshop with local stakeholders

3E’s Strategy & Policy team has been overall coordinator and leading the technical assistance in the second phase of the project that ran from 2021 to February 2023. 3E collaborated closely with DG ENER of the European Commission, the consortium members (Th!nk E, Steinbeis 2iDNV and RdA) and regional partners.

Phases I & II: empowering islands in their energy transition

Together, we delivered:

  • guidance and technical assistance to 50 islands projects, either by developing transition agenda’s, or carrying out pre-feasibility studies, integration studies, regulatory analysis, or helping finding financing for concrete projects;
  • workshops, forums, webinars, meetings and podcasts to raise awareness, discuss the obstacles for the clean energy transition, and to foster engagement from island stakeholders;
  • the Island Transition Handbook, an action-oriented guide to start the transition towards clean energy for islands;
  • the Technology solutions booklet, for an overview and assessment of energy technologies (electricity, heating and cooling, transport, and storage) that are currently commercially available for islands to advance in their clean energy transition; and
  • a study on regulatory barriers and recommendations for the clean energy transition on EU islands.
EU island supported by the EU secretariat

Identifying regulatory & policy barriers to the clean energy transition

Although it is often technically and financially possible to develop renewable energy projects on islands, legal and regulatory frameworks, whether EU, national, regional or local, often slow down or block these developments. 3E and Th!nk E analysed the regulatory and policy barriers of 7 Member States to the clean energy transition on European islands. The report is followed by concrete recommendations on how to overcome those obstacles.

This report was published by the Publications Office as an official EU publication in February 2023. Previously, the Technology Solutions Booklet and the Island Transition Handbook had been accepted as official EC publication.

Phase III: achieving fully renewable powered islands

The third phase of the project started in February 2023 and will run for four years. It will focus on supporting islands to become 100% renewable energy powered. You can stay tuned for the future activities of the EU islands secretariat by following it on Linkedin.

20+ years as a strategy & policy advisor

As a technical and strategy advisor, 3E has been providing capacity building, strategy guidance, policy analysis, decarbonisation plans and regulatory review for more than 20 years. If you would like to learn more about those advisory services offered by our Strategy & Policy team, we invite you to get in touch with them via this form.