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Greece plans green wave of investments on 20 small islands

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June 29, 2021

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Published:

June 29, 2021

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In a few years, environmentally aware tourists visiting Greece may be able to choose secluded destinations that produce their own energy and have all-electric transportation. Following several pilot projects, the government now plans a green wave of investment for about 20 small islands.

The developers of a project to transform the way of life on islands with up to 3,000 or 5,000 inhabitants say they want to upgrade the product called Greece, Newmoney.gr reported. The candidates aren’t interconnected with the mainland electricity system, which means they have to burn fossil fuels.

The situation is about to change in twenty or so such places as the government is preparing EUR 1 billion to boost energy autonomy, introduce smart and electric transportation and efficient street lighting and to refurbish buildings. The figure was recently announced by Minister of Environment and Energy Kostas Skrekas.

The endeavor would improve the country’s image as visitors would be able to choose sustainable islands. A large share of the funds is planned for renewable energy capacities and storage in the form of hydrogen and batteries. Skrekas expressed confidence that the green transition would increase the quality of life.

Greece change way of life 20 islands sustainable
Kastelorizo (Markosspyromilios from Pixabay)

Astypalea to be sustainable island model

The idea dates back more than a decade with the development of the first pilot projects, for Tilos and Agios Efstratios, also known as Ai Stratis.

The latest major push was launched at Astypalaia, a community of 1,300 permanent residents in the Aegean. Volkswagen agreed to introduce all-electric vehicles and accompanying systems and the island will get renewable energy projects. The authorities see it as a model for sustainable development that can be applied elsewhere in Europe and beyond.

Technology giants have the opportunity to boost their research and development capacity in the energy transformation of small islands, and companies that participate can improve their reputation through corporate social responsibility efforts

One of the crucial elements is the mobilization of private capital in the context of corporate social responsibility. The government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis indicated it would also tap on European and national development funds and income from greenhouse gas emissions certificates.

Halki in the South Aegean, which has a population of less than 500, is said to be next on the list, as French firms Citroën, Aquo Energy and Vinci Energies joined forces in order to make it greener and bring energy autonomy.

Setting up an energy community for solar power and the development of a net metering system are part of the initiative. There is also a possibility to deploy an electric boat, powered by photovoltaics, though the costs would be very high, the report revealed. On the other hand, it would expand the push for zero emissions beyond the island itself.

Island decarbonization fund has already been established

Other islands under consideration include Symi, Anafi, Agathonisi, Gavdos, Antikythera, Ereikousa, Kastelorizo and Othonoi, according to the article, which adds a specialized decarbonization fund has already been set up.

The European Commission, which is involved in the development of the roadmap, would have to approve the state aid scheme before it can be implemented.

Major global investors are lining up to become part of the sustainable islands initiative

Schneider Electric is active in the Ai Stratis project. AcuSol from Germany, which cooperates with Siemens, already obtained licenses for hybrid projects in various Greek islands. Siemens Gamesa and Tesla are among the investors, the media outlet added, as are domestic companies Eunice and Terna Energy, which are participating in the energy transformation of Tilos.

The Aegean island with almost 800 inhabitants has just won EUR 100,000 as it came in third at the European Commission’s RESponsible Island Prize.

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