The third Greening The Islands conference heard a clear appeal from island administrations and populations who today are on the front line in facing both climate change and rising migrant flows: time has run out and institutions at an international level must recognise take rapid action and support technological innovation.
The conference, which convened in December 2016 on the Canary Islands, was encouraged by the fact that many islands are already laying out pathways to a future of 100% renewables: 9 countries, more than 50 cities and towns, 52 regions, which together represent 55.3 million people will be running totally on renewable energy sources in coming years. And the numbers are growing as new examples emerge: El Hierro, Fuerteventura, La Graciosa among the Canary Islands; Pellworm in Germany, South Korea’s Jeju Island, São Miguel in the Azores, Gotland in Sweden, the Maldives and Samoa.
Adrián Mendoza, deputy minister for energy and trade of the Regional Government of the Canary Islands, commented: “Islands’ natural resources are an important element, but so is technological innovation. For us it’s such a crucial issue that we’re working to get the European Union to recognise that islands are natural laboratories for developing projects that spread renewable energy and sustainable policies.”
The event also saw the announcement of the second edition of the Greening The Islands Awards, which recognized innovative projects that can be easily replicated on other islands and have a greater impact on emissions reductions.
Ta’u, one of the islands of American Samoa with just 600 inhabitants, won the award in the Energy category. The “Ta’u island microgrid” project, which involves Tesla and was implemented within just one year from start to finish, will meet 100% of Ta’u’s energy demand.
The award in the Water sector went to Malta’s “Water Conservation and Awareness Centre”. The facility will be an interactive museum to help inform residents and tourists about the importance of water resources and, given the lack of water on the island, smart management both in domestic and agricultural uses.
In the Mobility category, the award was given to the “Replacement of police motorbikes” project, an initiative by the Italian town of Rapallo, in Liguria, which is replacing its local police motorbikes model Zero S motorbikes by US producer Zero Motorcycles.