For the second year in a row, partners carrying out the INSULAE project in Croatia were involved in Sunset Unije Festival’s program. It’s a local festival of culture and arts, with various sports and educational activities as well, that takes place on Unije throughout the summer. Likewise, the festival has a strong focus on ecology, so it’s easy to recognize the link between its program and the INSULAE project: the central objective of the project, after all, is to encourage the deployment of innovative solutions that will help decarbonize EU islands, and the island of Unije is involved in the project as one of the pilot areas where some of the main interventions are envisaged. In line with that, Croatian partners were invited by the festival’s organizers to devise a sub-program of project-related activities, and a set of events titled “The Week of Sun and Salt (and Water)” was created as a result. This part of the Sunset Unije Festival took place from 26 to 28 July, and it was carried out by representatives of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (University of Zagreb), Ericsson Nikola Tesla Ltd., Water Supply and Drainage Cres Losinj Ltd., WWF Adria – Association for Nature Protection and Biodiversity Conservation, and Regional Energy Agency Kvarner.
The first day of “The Week of Sun and Salt (and Water)” was initiated by a round table that enabled a discussion between island inhabitants, INSULAE partners, and representatives of the HEP Group (Croatian national energy company) which is recognized as a key stakeholder for the project. The event was well attended, and it was an opportunity to discuss various aspects of the upcoming construction of a PV power plant with a storage system. Different facets of project implementation on Unije were covered as well. Much of the later discussion was focused on the provision of water on the island, with a special presentation from representatives of Water Supply and Drainage Cres Losinj Ltd. In the afternoon, an event for a younger audience followed. A workshop on climate change for children was arranged and conducted with a great success by the Regional Energy Agency Kvarner.
On the second day of the sub-program, representatives of Ericsson Nikola Tesla Ltd. held a presentation on energy communities for the locals, in order to promote the benefits of founding such an association on the island. Finally, “The Week of Sun and Salt (and Water)” was concluded on the third day with an event conducted by the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture. This final event was focused on displaying a set of innovative energy-related examples that were successfully carried out on different islands across the world and had a significant positive impact on living conditions for local communities.
This engagement of Croatian partners had positive feedback from the locals who demonstrated their interest in the project and in the topics covered by the events. All in all, it was a successful example of awareness raising covering both INSULAE activities and environmental issues in general.