A Global Perspective on Experiences and Practices for Low Carbon Technologies and Renewable Energy in Islands

A Global Perspective on Experiences and Practices for Low Carbon Technologies and Renewable Energy in Islands

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6002-9.ch003

Abstract

Attention on islands energy systems is gradually increasing worldwide, enhancing sustainable resources on islands through a number of strategies and plans which aim to support and raise local awareness towards climate change. These plans, either in the form of official legal frameworks or through initiatives, aim at promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy, and effective resource management. Outcomes of those initiatives includes actions, programs, and projects where a number of islands demonstrate as test-beds for innovation and best practices. While autonomous states have larger control on implementing sustainable policies, they usually experience low economic prosperity. Islands that are part of a wider nation need to ensure adequate representation in government decision making. Due to the complexity of islands characteristics, best practices were discussed and analyzed for very small and small islands (micro), medium islands nations (meso), and large islands nations (macro).
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Island nations depending on their size, economic structure, population and location, encounter different barriers and drivers towards sustainable development. They require tailor-made policies and regulations to drive transition towards sustainable energy and resource management. These depends on various characteristics:

  • Climate (cold, temperature, tropical) and climatic parameters (Meschede et al., 2016) (annual mean temperature, variance of monthly temperature, heating degree days, annual mean precipitation, coefficient of variation of monthly precipitation, annual mean global horizontal irradiance, variance of monthly global horizontal irradiance, annual mean wind speed) – islands located in colder climate have less tourists throughout the year

  • Socio economic parameters (Meschede et al., 2016) – inhabitants, population, density, total griss domestic product, energy demand, economic activities

  • Physical characteristics (Meschede et al., 2016; Sheldon, 2005) - area, the proximity to the mainland and other islands, the highest elevation of the island, the % of the island’s area which is available for the implementation of large ground size renewable energy systems

  • Geographical restrictions (Schallenberg-Rodríguez & Notario-del Pino, 2014) -– altitudes higher than 2000 m, hillsides with slopes exceeding 25%, protected areas, forests and woodlands with tree density greater than 25%, waters

  • The Governance of the island (Sheldon, 2005) plays a key role in the support of sustainable development plans. This depends on if the island is an autonomous state or they are part of larger countries and follow the same national or regional policies could impact future plans based on the applied national strategies. While autonomous states have larger control on implementing sustainable policies, they usually experience low economic prosperity. Islands that are part of a wider nation need to ensure adequate representation in the government decision-making.

  • Population levels/Economic Growth (Sheldon, 2005) is significant in designing sustainable policies. Islands have large population discrepancies thought the year. Usually, islands with low permanent population levels have weaker economies and cannot support large volumes of tourists and fail to develop a robust tourism industry. Usually in such islands sustainable environmental practices in tourism can found prosperous ground even inside the local community while in larger islands centralized policies are required applicable to the different sub-sector of tourism

  • Homogeneity of the population and the socio-cultural sustainability of island goals (Sheldon, 2005) affect the resilience of the locals to large tourism waves. Islands with homogeneous, indigenous populations are outstandingly helpless to tourism as they have established strong local values and practices and are resistant to changes. On the other hand, islands with more heterogeneous populations are more receptive to tourism and different cultures as well as sustainable development concepts and practices on that sector.

Each island offers unique opportunities for the implementation of renewable energies. Overviews on the current RES projects on islands can be found in Lynge Jensen, (2000); Neves et al. (2014). The latter reviews 28 research and demonstration projects on isolated and grid connected islands. It was concluded that many islands show convergences in their climatic, energy production possibilities and socio-economic structures. Despite this, a lack of information on the replicability and transferability of single island projects still remain obvious.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset