EU selects Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius and Saba as front-runners in energy transition

Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius, and Saba are in the selected group of 30 islands chosen by the European Union (EU) to participate in the ’30 for 2030’ project. The islands, which were selected after an extensive selection process, can count on intensive support from the EU to realize their ambition to have fully sustainable energy facilities by 2030.

The entire trajectory, including the submission of the project proposals of the three individual islands, was guided by the cabinet of Special Envoy for the Caribbean Netherlands for EU funds, United Nations (UN) funds, and economic ties with Latin-America Edison Rijna.

One of Rijna’s tasks is to trace programs and funding at the EU that offer opportunities to the Caribbean Netherlands’ islands. The special envoy informed the islands right after identifying the 30 for 2030 project. Because the islands responded enthusiastically, the special envoy arranged support for the islands in writing their project proposals by hiring experts from, among others, the Technical University Delft.

The interest in the project was considerable. Late last week, the good news was received that the project proposals of Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius, and Saba were honored. They are the only islands in the Caribbean whose proposals made it through the selection. The EU sees the elected islands as front-runners that will completely phase out the dependence on fossil fuels in the coming years through renewable energy, and as such serve as an example to other islands, regions, and cities.

EU Commissioner Kadri Simson: ‘The currently selected islands have the opportunity to be pioneering models for the realization of clean energy systems. This will provide valuable insights for other islands of which many still greatly depend on expensive, imported fossil fuels. The elected islands can also be an example for energy transition in cities and regions all over the world”.

Caretaker State Secretary of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations Alexandra van Huffelen: ‘I congratulate the public entities Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius and Saba with this wonderful news. The EU support is a welcome addition to the collaboration that we as government have with the islands to make their energy facilities more sustainable, while at the same time keeping them affordable. I am delighted that Edison Rijna and his team demonstrated their value so soon after their start as special envoys’.

Special Envoy Edison Rijna: ‘This success is a team effort that shows that by joining forces as small islands, you can get things done with the very large EU organization which you would never accomplish on your own. During the two working visits to Brussels in the past six months, I noticed how useful it is for the islands to have a designated post with the special envoy’.


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