TALLINN – Altogether 14 countries of the European Union and the European Commission signed a memorandum of understanding on the Clean Energy for EU Islands initiative with which a cooperation platform is to be established to promote the transition of islands to green energy.
Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas, who signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of Estonia, said that the islands' continued high dependence on fossil fuels and the quality of their electricity connections remain a problem.
"The income of many islanders depends on tourism and a green environment is increasingly important for tourists. It is therefore sensible to jointly implement best practices in order to improve the living conditions of the islands," Aas was quoted by spokespeople for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications as saying.
The minister said that it is important to primarily contribute to the islands. "Islands are autonomous and sensitive ecosystems that require special care and attention. It must be ensured that energy is as low in price as possible for the local community and that the connection is stable," he said.
As recent positive developments of the islands, Aas pointed out the island of Ruhnu and the Muhu-Orissaare underwater power cable completed last year.
"Today, more than half of the electricity is generated from wind turbines and solar panels in Ruhnu, and the new underwater cable to Saaremaa also improved the security of supply of Saaremaa itself as well as Hiiumaa," the minister said.
Aas also commended Saaremaa, which is planning to hire an energy economy adviser to realize the island's transition to green energy.
The memorandum of understanding was signed at the initiative of the Croatian EU presidency and is a follow-up to the 2017 Clean Energy for EU Islands Initiative declaration, which is part of the Clean Energy package with the objective of supporting the EU islands in their decarbonization.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by the European Commission, Estonia, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.