Present and future opportunities facing island territories

Island territories such as the Balearics have historically represented enormous challenges, such as less connectivity, transport costs and even the distance and geographical differences as opposed to continental cities. This has often resulted in regulations or decisions that are little suited to island reality. In the energy transition, however, the peculiarities of the island environment can become a significant asset. It is possible to undertake specific action on islands ahead of those implemented on the mainland. In fact, they can become living laboratories in which technological and regulatory advances consolidate before being deployed in other territories.

The clearest example is e-mobility: the islands’ small size means that the ranges of today’s electric vehicles (EVs) – close to 300 km – are more than sufficient to cover most needs. For example, the longest distance that can be travelled on Majorca from one end to another is around 120 km. In the case of Formentera, it is barely 25 km.

This particular feature of islands is one of the bases of the Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition of the Balearic Islands whose implementation has started. The islands are particularly vulnerable to climate change and can and should lead the measures to combat it. For this, the Law is setting out a road map to fully decarbonise the economy of the islands by 2050 in line with international strategies. The Paris Agreement binds the EU and its member states to combat climate change and therefore in the case of Spain, it also binds the Autonomous Communities in their corresponding spheres of competence. In addition, Spain recently signed up to a European policy statement which recognises the “potential of island territories to be the architects of their own energy transition” and committed to supporting these territories in their energy transitions. Read more…

Joan Groizard Payeras
Director General for Energy and Climate Change Ministry for Land, Energy and Mobility of the Balearic Islands

Article published in: FuturENERGY April 2018