Smart Islands: Story of an Island Microgrid

Smart Islands: Story of an Island Microgrid

An underwater cable carries electric power from the diesel generators of Kos to its neighbouring island of Tilos. However, this interconnector might soon be exporting energy from Tilos. As it shifts away from traditional fossil fuel reliance by harnessing the power of the wind and sun, the remote Greek island produced enough renewable energy in September 2017 - all fruit of a three-year European research project.

Renewable energy meets 70% of island’s electricity demand
Where once power outages destroyed appliances and machinery on the island, smart meters installed in residences and businesses are helping the 700+ residents to keep abreast of the demand. Renewable energy can cover 70% of the island’s electrical power needs. Its hybrid renewable energy storage station and smart microgrid is a paradigm not only for Greece, but also spells the potential for many other islands to complement Europe’s transition into a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy.

Double award winner
The Tilos project won two European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) Awards in Brussels in 2017, part of an annual series of events aimed at building a secure energy future for Europe. For its solar park and wind turbine hybrid system, it garnered the first ever Energy Islands award, and was picked out of 12 finalists with its winning count of over 10 000 votes for the Citizen’s Award. With future plans to install an electric vehicle charging station island-wide, the opportunities are limitless not just in Tilos, but for all future smart islands.

Smart-future for Europe's islands
Long susceptible to insularity because of their unwieldy infrastructure, European islands are beginning to share investment and introduce models to improve storage, in a long-term bid for energy self-sufficiency. Technology is an important part of the innovation - as is a sense of community and collaboration. The Network of Sustainable Greek Islands (DAFNI) coordinates the Smart Islands Initiative, which includes European island authorities and communities. It builds on years of collaboration between European islands and seeks to convey the significant potential of islands to function as laboratories for technological, social, environmental, economic and political innovation. In this way island communities can help the EU meet its 2030 goals. In addition, organisations such as the European Small Islands Federation (ESIN) help to promote the potential of islands, and bring this awareness about locally, as well as on a European level.

Energy Islands @EUSEW18
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