Covenant of Mayors – a foundation for Smart communities

Covenant of Mayors – a foundation for Smart communities

 

Communities seeking to participate in European Union funding opportunities for Smart cities – such as lighthouse projects for Smart communities – are advised to sign up to the EU’s Covenant of Mayors ahead of making applications.

The Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is an EU initiative started in 2008, bringing together local and regional bringing authorities to implement the EU’s climate and energy objectives on their territory.

New signatories pledge – on a voluntary basis – to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and to adopt an integrated approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

The Covenant of Mayors now has 6,958 signatories within the EU. They share and learn from initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and increase access to secure sustainable and affordable energy.

In order to translate their political commitment into practical measures and projects, Covenant signatories commit to submitting, within two years following the date of the local council decision, a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) outlining the key actions they plan to undertake. The plan features a Baseline Emission Inventory to track mitigation actions and a Climate Risks and Vulnerability Assessment.

The adaptation strategy can either be part of the SECAP or developed and mainstreamed in a separate planning document. This bold political commitment marks the beginning of a long-term process with cities committed to reporting every two years on the implementation progress of their plans.

The European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) instrument – a funding tool of the European Investment Bank (EIB) – is supporting Covenant signatories.

ELENA grants help local authorities structure their energy efficiency or renewable energy investment projects in the most efficient ways so they can attract finance from local banks and other sources.

There is no call for proposals as local authorities can submit their project to the EIB at any time.

The Covenant of Mayors

 

 

 

 

 

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Covenant of Mayors – a foundation for Smart communities

Covenant of Mayors – a foundation for Smart communities

 

Communities seeking to participate in European Union funding opportunities for Smart cities – such as lighthouse projects for Smart communities – are advised to sign up to the EU’s Covenant of Mayors ahead of making applications.

The Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy is an EU initiative started in 2008, bringing together local and regional bringing authorities to implement the EU’s climate and energy objectives on their territory.

New signatories pledge – on a voluntary basis – to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 and to adopt an integrated approach to tackling mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

The Covenant of Mayors now has 6,958 signatories within the EU. They share and learn from initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and increase access to secure sustainable and affordable energy.

In order to translate their political commitment into practical measures and projects, Covenant signatories commit to submitting, within two years following the date of the local council decision, a Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) outlining the key actions they plan to undertake. The plan features a Baseline Emission Inventory to track mitigation actions and a Climate Risks and Vulnerability Assessment.

The adaptation strategy can either be part of the SECAP or developed and mainstreamed in a separate planning document. This bold political commitment marks the beginning of a long-term process with cities committed to reporting every two years on the implementation progress of their plans.

The European Local Energy Assistance (ELENA) instrument – a funding tool of the European Investment Bank (EIB) – is supporting Covenant signatories.

ELENA grants help local authorities structure their energy efficiency or renewable energy investment projects in the most efficient ways so they can attract finance from local banks and other sources.

There is no call for proposals as local authorities can submit their project to the EIB at any time.

Covenant of Mayors

 

 

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Sharing for innovation in environmental risk mitigation

Sharing for innovation in environmental risk mitigation

 

Some kinds of Innovation can be expensive for small enterprises in smaller territories. The large projects under Bo Aruba and Sint Eustatius the solar park project are evidence of the scale of meaningful work that smaller enterprises cannot undertake but can benefit from. Cost factors are perhaps the most important single barrier to technology transfer to smaller enterprises. While the bulk of the literature on seems to focus upon access to finance within the OCTs there have been isolated but very valuable cases of innovation support and transfer without the need for significant cash outlay from the government or smaller enterprises. One of the important characteristics of climate change, particularly in small island tourist-based territories, is that they affect both large and small enterprises at the same time.

When large enterprise address environmental risks, they simultaneously addresses the problems faced by smaller ones. In several cases, the benefits can be passed on as part of corporate social responsibility or at a marginal cost to smaller enterprises. The CuisinArt Golf Resort and Spa in Anguilla is one example of this, where it provided water to residents during a drought in that territory. The Cooper Island Beach Resort is another such example where it engages community and tourist involvement in waste management and food production.

Going forward, the OCTs must explore of the symbiotic relationships that can be formed between large enterprises and smaller ones in the area of innovation for environmental risk mitigation. Co-operatives and similar associative structures are another method of reducing the cost of innovation per user. Co-operatives are democratically organised, member-based business structures founded upon the principle of sharing. Co-operatives can amass sums of money from their members to acquire technologies that can be communally used, operated and maintained. Co-operative structures exist within the agricultural sectors of several of the OCTs but several countries noted that there is a need for strengthening the movement and for refocusing them upon environmental risk mitigation, obtaining common technologies and for diffusing knowledge on best practice within specific sectors. These will be explored for agriculture and fisheries among the OCTs.

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Research: Algae are melting away the Greenland ice sheet

Research: Algae are melting away the Greenland ice sheet

 

‘Black and Bloom’ project explores how microorganisms help to determine the pace of Arctic melting.

Researchers are fanning out across the Greenland ice sheet this month to explore a crucial, but overlooked, influence on its future: red, green and brown-coloured algal blooms. These darken the snow and ice, causing it to absorb more sunlight and melt faster.

The £3-million (US$4-million) Black and Bloom project aims to measure how algae are changing how much sunlight Greenland’s ice sheet bounces back into space. “We want to get a handle on just how much of the darkness is due to microbes and how much to other physical factors”, such as soot or mineral dust, says Martyn Tranter, a biogeochemist at the University of Bristol, UK, and the project’s principal investigator.

Team scientists arrived near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, this week for 6 weeks of observations. The work will continue for two more summers, exploring different parts of the ice sheet. Ultimately, the scientists hope to develop the first deep understanding of  how biological processes affect Greenland’s reflectivity.

Full article.

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Green Aruba 2016 – November 17th and 18th

Green Aruba 2016 – November 17th and 18th

Green Aruba is an annual conference born in 2010 with the specific aim to place dedicated emphasis on Aruba’s energy transition to 100% fuel independence. Besides showcasing Aruba’s progress and challenges to the accelerated penetration of renewables in the total energy mix, Green Aruba also exhibits the experiences and knowledge of other institutions and island nations in this field. Over the past six years, Green Aruba has evolved into a practical and valuable well-known platform within the region for the exchange of information and applied knowledge on sustainable and best practices for the shift to cleaner, more environmentally friendly energy sources and resources.

Green Aruba us a perfect example of innovation and creativity at Overseas Countries and Territories. Aruba is a leader in driving sustainable island growth.

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Solar power and sustainability in Aruba

Solar power and sustainability in Aruba

Over the past six years Green Aruba conference has evolved into an excellent platform for the exchange of information and knowledge on sustainable and best practices for the desired transition from fossil fuels to cleaner, more environmentally friendly energy sources and resources.

Besides showcasing Aruba’s progress and challenges in regard to the accelerated penetration of renewables in the total energy mix, we would also like to exhibit the experiences and knowledge of other institutions and island nations in this field.

Sharing the achievements on the growth path of the sustainability journey is the main theme of this year’s Green Aruba conference.

Aruba has already made great progress in the penetration level of renewables and/or efficiency at production level, reaching in 2015 close to the 20% mark. With the upcoming planned projects, becoming operational by the end of 2017, the 40% barrier will be surpassed by 2018.

We have set a goal to reach 100% fuel free energy production. For us to surpass the 40% level, it is necessary to make a “deep dive” into our existing energy mix. We are looking at possible technologies and new business models for our utility companies, all in conjunction with our “RAS” framework. The “RAS framework” is a “map” to creating a balance between sustainable and reliable investments. This balance is only achievable if energy production costs remain the same or, even better, are reduced. After all, it is not, Green at any Cost!

Local utility stakeholders together with foreign renowned institutions are preparing for this dive into the Aruba Renewable Integration Study (ARIS), and will present their approach and recommendations at the upcoming conference. The ARIS will provide models that map out the road to take toward Aruba’s ambitious renewable energy goals, while maintaining grid reliability and minimizing overall system costs.

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Brussels event: Sustainable energy best practices and challenges – an OCT perspective

Brussels event: Sustainable energy best practices and challenges – an OCT perspective

European Union Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) is the annual highlight of the EU intensive work on sustainable energy.

Sustainable energy has been on the forefront of innovation at EU Overseas Countries and Territories, and countries like Aruba, with Prime Minister Mike Eman, have taken a global lead on implementing innovative practices in renewable energy, energy storage and sustainable development.

At the EUSEW 2015  ‘Sustainable Energy Roadmap for OCT’s’ was signed. On Tuesday, 14 June 2016 (16.00 – 17.30) a key conference will take place at the European Commission to build upon this last year’s success. In order to assess the progress since the signature of the Sustainable Energy Roadmap for OCT’s and agree on next steps to accelerate the renewable energy transition.

The conference will provide a better understanding of the assets that OCTs represent for the EU in relation to renewable energy, in terms of open laboratories – but also grid stability, energy storage and stand-alone systems – at a time when the EU Member States are starting to realize some of the technological challenges that the EU’s Energy Framework will represent for their infrastructure, as the share of renewable energy is increased.

In addition, the event will present initiative to build on the partnership between OCTA (Overseas Countries and Territories Association) and IRENA, to get the best value for money from the financial support of those EU Member States that would like to support OCTs in the implementation of their roadmap and the transition to sustainable energy in OCTs

The Conference takes place on Tuesday 14 June (16.00 – 17.30), the European Commission’s Charlemagne Building, Mansholt Room.

Speakers:

Mike EMAN
Prime Miniser of Aruba and OCTA Chair

José María FIGUERES OLSEN
President of Carbon War Room

Mala HØY KÚKO
Minister for Nature, Environment and Justice of Greenland

Elizabeth PRESS
Director, Planning and Programme Support at IRENA

Kees RADE
Ambassador for Sustainable Development

Marjeta JAGER
European Commission, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Development

 

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OCTA Innovation at the OCTs

OCTA Innovation at the OCTs

Following the OCTA-EU political declaration research, education and innovation are the key in securing sustainable development and prosperity at the OCTs. In my role of the Chairman on Project Steering Committee for OCTA Innovation, I have at the first hand witnessed not only enthusiasm, creativity and innovation initiatives, but also wide-ranging innovation potential of all of the OCTs. OCTA Innovation initiates and guides this potential, helping to structure innovation initiatives with supporting development of innovation strategies, structured guidance and ensuring joint learning.

Leading this exciting work has been exceptionally rewarding, and it has provided me with an insight into potentials for harnessing OCTs’ dynamism for work in areas relevant for OCTs, from biodiversity and agriculture, to securing economic growth and sustainability.

From Montserrat experience, pushing forward education is at the centre of securing future for the island. Not only it develops knowledge and builds capacity, it also creates a positive societal dynamics that drives innovation and creativity.

Chairing our Project Steering Committee has been a pleasure as it enabled me to work closely with other members of the committee so we could jointly share our experiences and support moving the project forward.

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(Newsletter) April 2016 edition published

(Newsletter) April 2016 edition published

This month, after two years of extensive work on propelling innovation, we are half-way in our quest of delivering and strengthening innovation at the Overseas Countries and Territories. This quest is OCTA Innovation.

The objective of OCTA Innovation is ‘to enhance sustainable development through innovative solutions for economic diversification and to improve regional and global competitiveness of the OCTs’ through innovative methods, to unlock the value of the Territories’ human and natural resources and to achieve sustainable development’.

The goal is to assist OCTs to take innovative steps to improve their economic growth and promote social development. We provide demand-driven technical services and capacity building to each OCT government, support to each government in developing their innovation strategy, and support in implementing their innovation actions in different areas including grant funding of pilot projects.

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EU-Polar Net: linking Europe and the Polar regions

EU-Polar Net: linking Europe and the Polar regions

EU-PolarNet aims to improve co-ordination between EU member polar research institutions building on existing networks to create a resource orientated infrastructure access and usage plan. EU-PolarNet will develop an integrated EU Polar research programme by identifying short and long-term scientific needs and optimising the use of co-ordinated Polar infrastructure for multi-platform science missions whilst fostering trans-disciplinary collaboration on Polar research.

The online platform is sharing various documents and projects, including those factsheets:

The Greeland Institute of Natural Resources is one of the 22 partners of the consortium.

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