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'Clean Energy for EU Islands' launched in Malta

The European Commission (EC), together with 14 EU countries have signed a political declaration to launch the new 'Clean Energy for EU Islands' initiative. Aimed at accelerating the clean energy transition on Europe's more than 2 700 islands, the initiative will help islands reduce dependency on energy imports, cut costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while improving air quality by making better use of own renewable energy sources and embracing modern and innovative energy systems.

Malta, which currently holds the EU Presidency, is an island nation heavily dependent on fossil fuel for its energy needs.

Signed on May 18 by the EC, together with 14 EU countries (Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden) in Valetta, Malta in the margins of the Informal Energy Council, which brings together EU energy ministers, the initiative is aimed at comparing notes on common problems that different islands face, building on best practices and experience from pilot projects.

Part of the scheme is also aimed at making it easier to access new energy technologies and sources of funding. The initiative was originally announced as part of the Commission’s ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans’ package of proposals in November 2016.

Due to their location, many of our islands have expensive oil-based energy structures which mean that they are still dependent on costly fossil fuel imports. The “Clean Energy for EU Islands” initiative will help them to access the support, expertise and funding they need to go local and generate their own clean, low-cost energy from renewable sources, said Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy.

The initiative will create a forum for all those with an interest in the clean energy transition on EU islands to share best practice and support the creation of a long-term framework to promote funding and technical assistance.

At the meeting of the Informal Energy Council, ministers also looked at the proposal for a revised Energy Efficiency Directive included in the ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans‘ package, including the Commission’s proposal to move to a binding 30 percent energy efficiency target for the EU as a whole by 2030.

While surrounded by water, Malta has an arid Mediterranean climate with limited biomass resources.

While surrounded by water, Malta has an arid Mediterranean climate with limited biomass resources.

The Informal Council will be followed by an Informal High-Level Meeting on Energy Efficiency in the Mediterranean. Ministers, along with representatives of the Commission, private sector and regional bodies, will discuss how to increase energy efficiency in the Mediterranean’s buildings and the tourism sector.

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