News28 April 2020Brussels, BelgiumResearch and Innovation
Three islands receive EU Prize for innovative renewable energy solutions
The Danish island of Bornholm is the first ever winner of the EU RESponsible Island Prize. The Danish island won the title in recognition for its innovative energy solutions and its contribution to a sustainable and climate-friendly Europe, the European Commission announced today. The award comes with a €500,000 cash prize funded by Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.
The second prize of €250,000 went to the island of Samsø, also in Denmark, and the third prize of €100,000 to the Orkney Islands in the United Kingdom. The three winners have embraced a green agenda for decades, putting their communities at the heart of the transformation towards fully renewable energy systems.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:
Islands can become climate neutral, thriving communities if they invest in green technologies while involving citizens, businesses, scientists and local energy companies. That is what this prize is about. I warmly congratulate the three winners whose example will inspire other islands and energy communities.
The main winner, Bornholm, has engaged all sectors of society to deliver a sustainable island for future generations. Bornholm has the ambition of becoming CO2 neutral by 2025 and a zero-emission and climate-friendly community by 2035. Led by the regional municipality, the winning team of Bornholm has developed a 100% renewable energy system that combines photovoltaics, wind energy, innovative solutions in waste treatment and combined heat and power from locally produced biomass. In doing so, Bornholm successfully brought together research and innovation with society.
The Island of Samsø has put its community at the centre of a successful process to switch from imported fossil fuels to local renewable energy, and to become fossil free by 2030. The Orkney Islands have overcome a series of energy challenges and are now among European leaders in using novel green technologies for decarbonisation.
There are more than 2000 inhabited islands in the EU. These islands often have high local energy costs, but they can benefit from the transition to renewable energy sources in many ways, such as local job creation and sustainable tourism. Islands are therefore ideal test labs to develop innovative energy technologies and can serve as energy transition models for small communities in general.
Funded by Horizon 2020, the RESponsible Island Prize is awarded in the years 2019 and 2020. The next edition of the RESponsible Island Prize is now open for applications. Applicants can submit their proposals by 29 September 2020.
The European Commission launched the first RESponsible Island Prize in March 2019 to reward achievements in local renewable energy production for electricity, heating, cooling and transport on islands. The prize name refers to the combination of renewables (RES) and responsibility.
The prize was awarded based on the share of renewable energy produced by innovative energy technologies, environmental and socioeconomic sustainability and impact, citizen and community involvement as well as replicability of the solution.