NESOI (New Energy Solutions Optimised for Islands) is a Horizon2020 project, set up by the European Commission, aiming to enable a cost-effective and faster energy transition on European islands.
The projects will advance the production of energy from renewable sources, reduce CO2 emissions by around 300 kilotonnes of CO2/year and improve energy infrastructure on European islands
E.ON will support 6 projects spread across 14 European islands
Islands are known to have excellent environmental conditions for generating renewables like wind, solar or wave energy – but many lack the infrastructure to embark on these sustainable resources due to challenges such as weaker grids compared to on the mainland and inadequate energy storage options. Because of this, many islands obtain their electricity primarily from diesel generators, leading to high greenhouse gas emissions and prices that can be up to 10 times higher than on the mainland.
There are around 2,400 inhabited islands in Europe. To support them in driving the energy transition, the European Commission has launched the European Islands Facility NESOI. It supports island municipalities and private entities in obtaining the necessary technical and financial infrastructure for the effective creation of their own energy transition plans. The multidisciplinary NESOI consortium is made up of 10 experienced partners from seven different EU member states – E.ON represents the energy industry and provides electricity network expertise.
On May 26, the consortium officially announced the selection of 28 projects that will receive financial and technical support – 117 proposals from 110 islands were submitted in total. The selected projects are geographically spread across the European islands and include three projects from the Baltic region, five from the Atlantic region, eight from the West Mediterranean region and 12 from the East Mediterranean region. Along with the support received from NESOI, the projects are expected to generate investments from a wide range of stakeholders amounting to a combined total of 1,137.1 million euros.
Almost all of the 28 initiatives will involve the production of energy from renewable energy sources, mainly focusing on photovoltaics (PV) but also wind, pumped hydro and tidal energy. In addition, the projects will focus on various topics such as energy storage systems, sustainable mobility solutions and energy planning, to name just a few.
In total, the estimated primary energy savings generated by 28 selected projects amount to 541.5 GWh/year. The CO2 reduction is expected to be 300 kilotonnes of CO2 per year – equivalent to the emissions of 59,000 passenger vehicles running over the same period. E.ON will support six projects spread across 14 European islands. These projects will contribute to around a fifth of the expected CO2 and energy savings – which amount to 63 kilotonnes CO2 and 114 GWh per year.
Within NESOI, E.ON Innovation particularly evaluates how the existing network infrastructure of these islands can cope with the expected high shares of renewable power to be installed. This contribution is key as European islands will very soon face technical challenges which the
mainland will only start experiencing in the next five to 10 years. To secure island energy supplies with high shares of renewable power, E.ON, in collaboration with local network operators, will make sure that state-of-the-art technologies are employed in the projects.
Luis Hernández, Head of Energy Communities and Networks at E.ON Innovation emphasises: “By addressing the specific geographic and technical
challenges, we can help islands to become innovation leaders and lighthouses in the clean energy transition. The benefits will be two-fold – testing new technology on these islands under real, economically feasible conditions and creating new tested, developed solutions to serve as a blueprint for the energy transition on the EU mainland.”
The second call for applications opens in autumn 2021. Island authorities and legal private entities can submit their project ideas until December 2021. The second group of selected projects will be announced in spring 2022.