Cast Away? How EU Energy Law Provides for a Just Transition for EU Islands

Romain Mauger

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The EU counts approximately 2400 islands, totalling a population of nearly 15 million. Islands are particularly vulnerable to climate change but enjoy a naturally high potential of renewable energy sources to harness. As a consequence, the EU considers them as energy transition laboratories and wishes to decarbonise 1000 of them by 2030. If this outcome might be technically possible, it requires fit-for-purpose EU and national legal frameworks as well as a strong emphasis on the fairness aspect of this transition. This article firstly analyses the concept of Just Transition and its use in international law and EU policy and law. It proposes the notion of ‘concentric Just Transition’ to qualify the current use of this concept in EU initiatives, policy and law, and it introduces an ambitious framework to be used by the EU for a fair transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy. Secondly, it assesses the challenges and opportunities for a Just Transition on EU islands, with the help of the SMILE project islands (Madeira, Orkney and Samsø). Thirdly, it gathers elements of existing EU energy law which could be of use for a Just Transition on EU islands. Finally, it concludes by emphasising the key role that energy communities can play for a Just Transition on EU islands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jan-2021


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