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Clean energy for EU islands

Providing a long-term framework to help EU islands generate their own sustainable, low-cost energy.

There are more than 2200 inhabited islands in the EU. Despite having access to renewable sources of energy, such as wind and wave energy, many of them depend on expensive fossil fuel imports for their energy supply.

Clean energy for EU islands initiative

As part of the 'Clean energy for all Europeans' package, the Clean energy for EU islands initiative, launched in 2017, provides a long-term framework to help islands generate their own sustainable, low-cost energy. This will result in:

  • reduced energy costs and greatly increased production of renewable energy
  • construction of energy storage facilities and demand response systems, using the latest technologies
  • better energy security for islands, which will be less reliant on imports
  • improved air quality, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and less impact on islands' natural environments
  • the creation of new jobs and business opportunities, boosting islands' economic self-sufficiency

The initiative builds on a political declaration, signed by the European Commission and 14 EU countries with large island populations (Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden). As a follow-up, the parties also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in June 2020, to establish a long-term framework for cooperation to advance the energy transition and identify best practices on challenges that cannot be addressed at island-level.

Clean energy for EU islands secretariat

In 2018, the European Commission, in cooperation with the European Parliament, set up the Clean energy for EU islands secretariat to deliver the objectives of the Clean energy for EU islands initiative.

The secretariat acts as a platform to exchange best practices, provides dedicated capacity building and advisory services to islands and advices the Commission on policy and regulatory issues for clean energy transition on islands. The secretariat furthermore supports the implementation of the cooperation structure of the Memorandum of Split.

The Memorandum of Split ensures the establishment of a long-term structure for supporting EU islands in their energy transition. The objectives of the initiative are to support islands in their transition agendas, to promote the participation, engagement and empowerment of citizens, to facilitate the creation of renewable energy communities and to promote projects and exchange of best practices.

The second phase of the Clean energy for EU islands secretariat was launched in the beginning of 2021 and runs for 2 years. It builds on the results of the pilot phase (2018-2020) to support and create profitable clean energy projects on European islands. The aim is to empower island communities to move from clean energy vision to action and to match citizen-driven initiatives with expert support that has a real impact on projects that are happening on the ground.

Contact the secretariat: infoateuislands [dot] eu (info[at]euislands[dot]eu).

Clean energy for EU islands forums

The forums take place regularly since 2017 when Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece and Miguel Cañete, European Commissioner for climate action and energy, launched the first forum in Chania, Crete.

The forums, which are organised in combination with technical fairs, provide EU islands and other EU initiatives the opportunity to share best practices and show innovative projects in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and research and innovation. The forums supports the networking and exchange between stakeholders giving practical assistance in designing, preparing and implementing transition agendas.

The European Islands Facility – NESOI

This Horizon 2020 project, open to a community of 2400 inhabited EU islands, aims to fund 60 successful energy transition projects, mobilising more than €100 million of investment and significantly reducing CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions by 2023. To achieve this, the project team of NESOI (New Energy Solutions Optimised for Islands) will build on the work of the Clean energy for EU islands secretariat to foster and deliver profitable clean energy projects.

The most innovative aspect of the project is the cascade funding, a simple, easily accessible funding process.


17 JUNE 2020
Memorandum of Understanding on the Clean energy for EU islands initiative (June 2020)
17 NOVEMBER 2023
Factsheet: Clean Energy for Islands Initiative (November 2018)