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New Energy Solutions Optimized for Islands

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - European Islands Facility NESOI (New Energy Solutions Optimized for Islands)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-03-31

Funds are available to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Many islands are engaged in energy transition; however, most of them haven’t the expertise to concretely launch investments, access finance and kick start the projects.

The EU Islands Facility NESOI aims at filling this gap through a hands-on approach, unlocking the potential of EU islands to become the locomotives of European Energy Transition, mainstreaming green energy investments to an audience of more than 2.200 inhabited EU islands and giving the opportunity to implement their innovative energy technologies and approaches in a cost-competitive way.
Starting with a broad survey gathering EU islands’ needs, NESOI provides islands with both indirect and direct support:
1) a digital platform, a one-stop-shop for islands where to find ideas and effective organisational, technical and financial instruments for the whole value chain of a project and a cooperative space for project promoters, investors and technology providers;
2) a cascade mechanism based on transparent technical, social, economic and environmental criteria, to identify a short list of projects for customised technical assistance from consortium experts and external advisors.

Through its support, NESOI aims at mobilising more than 100 M€ of investment in sustainable energy by 2023, leading to 440 GWh/year primary energy savings.
WP1: NESOI toolkit and methodology for islands energy transition
Within WP1, NESOI has first assessed islands’ needs for their energy transition through a dedicated survey, and, based on the results collected, developed useful materials to guide them in structuring their energy transition plans from different perspectives (technological, financial, business model, citizen engagement).

WP2: NESOI Facilitating Platform
In the first 18 M, WP2 has started to develop the set of core digital services which are part of the NESOI Digital Platform. The methodological framework for drafting the architecture and the overall specifications of each functional component of NESOI has been finalized. A first MVP version has been released in M12, and it has been used for supporting the whole lifecycle of the 1st NESOI Open Call.

WP3: Islands’ project selection process and criteria
WP3 has focused its efforts to set up the entire process of the call for applicants and to select the projects to be supported through NESOI technical assistance. Specifically, the work started from the outcomes of WP1 and the survey results to align NESOI support to the islands’ needs.
NESOI 1st Open Call was successfully launched on October 12th 2020. 117 applications were submitted and 28 selected for support, including a reserve list of projects scored above the identified threshold but not selected.
The 28 selected projects cover different countries and have a variety of maturity level thanks to the selection process put in place by NESOI, which aimed at guaranteeing such result.

WP4: NESOI experts’ assistance to selected projects
In this reporting period, based on WP3 outcomes and in particular on the results of NESOI 1st Open Call, WP4 has started to structure the Technical Assistance to be provided to the beneficiaries. The activities performed were mainly related to the analysis of selected projects to understand their requirements in terms of technical, economic-financial and legal-procedural activities.

WP5: Management of the direct financial support
WP5 has focused in the preparation and development of the grant contracts and the process for the negotiation with funded projects.
The model of sub-grant agreement (SGA) was prepared between month 8 and 9. Special clauses were defined in line with H2020 rules: payment schedule and conditions, rights, and obligations by NESOI and each sub-grantee (including communication obligations).

WP6: NESOI Exploitation and Replication
Over the M1-M18 project period, the WP6 work was essentially focused on the development of the assessment framework and the definition of the related KPI list to measure the impact of both NESOI assistance as a whole and of the selected island project.

WP7: NESOI coaching for local capacity building
Using the Design Thinking principles, WP 7 has concentrated in the following activities:
•Collection of islands’ needs in terms of support to be delivered by the facility (survey sent to 658 contacts)
•Promotion of the facility towards islands (17 webinars organised to promote the first NESOI call – 520 attendees reached)
•Planning the activity of capacity building of island public authorities’ staff in developing investible energy transition projects

WP8: EU Communication & Dissemination
The first 18 months of the project were dedicated to developing a sound communication and dissemination strategy; the following materials have been produced:
•project video
•NESOI roll up
•NESOI website (over 23,000 visitors)
•4 newsletters sent to a database of around 500 GDPR approved contacts
•1 press release (a second 1 being currently drafted)
•social media: Twitter (@NESOI_energy) which currently counts 261 followers while Linkedin 527
•videos produced to reach local island communities in French, Spanish, Greek, Italian and Croatian (26 video are currently uploaded which have gathered a combined viewing of over 1800 views).

WP9: Project management and coordination
In the first reporting period WP9 has set the necessary tools and procedures to ensure an effective management and a proper coordination of the work packages and their interactions.
In the next period, the efforts of the NESOI consortium will be focused to achieve the following results:
-Full implementation and deployment of the NESOI platform
-Implementation of the projects selected in the first Call and deployment of the Technical Assistance
-Coaching activities for the islands’ staff
-Organisation of the second NESOI Call
-Capacity building webinars for the potential applicants to the second call
-Improving dissemination and communication
-Definition of the NESOI exploitation beyond the project duration

The potential impacts are the following:
• at least 60 EU islands directly supported by NESOI
• innovation uptake by potential replicators: at least 300 potential energy transition projects in island will be identified across EU27 within the project lifetime for future funding
• activation of energy transition investments at least up to 100 M€ on islands directly supported by NESOI
• improved capacity and skills of technicians, through a training campaign aiming to involve at least 50 EU islands authorities

In a short term, in the islands participating in NESOI the following impacts are expected:
• Primary energy savings: 440 GWh/year
• GHG emission savings: 160 KtCO2/year
• RES production: 20% island share
•Investment by public authorities and project promoters in energy transition: >100 M€

At social level we expect the following impacts:
• NESOI will contribute to create at least 250 direct jobs and more than 1000 jobs along the 10 years period following the project (2023-2033)
• NESOI will increase the quality of life on EU islands, promoting the reduction of local energy bills and enhancing local environment thanks to low carbon energy promotion and investments, lowering the de-population and migration from islands to mainland, guaranteeing the preservation of local communities and socio-economic-cultural heritage