Clean Energy for EU Islands: Why does the initiative matter outside of the EU
Islands can benefit from the transition to power systems based on renewable energy. Their energy costs will be reduced. The environmental pollution of diesel-powered generation will be eliminated. Job creation will also benefit local communities.
The transition, championed by the European Union (EU) Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Canete and Director General for Energy, Dominique Ristori, requires a different regulatory framework: adapted funding mechanisms and off-grid power industry, which is technically and technologically capable.
This is the remit of the Clean Energy for EU Islands Forum, launched on 22 September in Chania, Greece, which will work on designing the modalities for transitioning more than 2,700 islands in the EU from conventional to renewable energy. The initiative matters not only for the EU, it can have multiplier effect elsewhere in the world, including in the countries lacking energy access. By harmonising regulatory framework, standardising systems design and carving out new financing mechanisms, the EU can make an impact beyond its borders.
The Alliance for Rural Electrification, where I am a Board Member has more then 80 members from the EU - both multinational and small to medium size companies, which are positioned along the whole value chain of the off-grid renewable industry: Equipment manufacturers, technology providers and developers of off-grid renewable energy systems.
Off-grid electrification by stand alone and microgrid systems represents fantastic economic opportunity. In Asia, the numbers speak for themselves.
- 200 million people are without electricity access in India alone.
- Similar number of people lack electticity access in South East Asia, e.g.
- There are at least 40 million people without electricity access in Indonesia.
- Asia also has numerous island nations: There are 7,000 island in Philippines and more than 10,000 in Indonesia.
European companies are well positioned in the off-grid power industry. Engie is building its role as the first decentralised utility in South-East Asia. Other players are coming in as technology providers or developers and deploying their solutions and know-how in the region.
The EU can set an example, especially for hybridisation of power systems for islands that can be deployed across the world. We badly need better standardisation, solutions for scaling and adequate regulatory framework at community level.
Let's work together towards a transition that will deploy clean energy systems on islands across the world.
Katarina Uherova Hasbani is a Board Member of the Alliance for Rural Electrification.