A tiny Greek island is set to become the Mediterranean’s first to be powered by 100% sustainable solutions.
In the quiet getaway island of Tilos, technicians are finishing a summer project that will soon allow the isle to run exclusively off renewable energy
Scheduled to take effect later this year, the new system will power the entire island using high-tech batteries recharged with wind and solar power.
During winter months only around 400 people live on the island, but during summer that number climbs to an upwards of 3,000, causing issues for its limited power supply.
Tilos depends on other nearby islands for energy, which it gets from an underwater cable running from Kos and Nisiros.
The current system has been especially troublesome for summer tourism — Tilos’ main revenue source — as businesses regularly deal with long blackouts.
Without electricity, hotel tenants must endure scorching temperatures without air conditioning, while restaurants have to discard spoiled food from warm refrigerators
Such blackouts have long forced Tilos’ businesses to use diesel generators, but now a massive 800-kilowatt wind turbine and a solar park will serve as consistent sources of energy for island residents.
Project TILOS — Technology Innovation for the Local Scale Optimum Integration of Battery Energy Storage — was mostly paid for by the European Union, which covered €11 million of the €13.7 million cost.
Averaging 13,000 visitors every year, Tilos is a smaller-scale vacation island about 14 hours from the Greek mainland by ferry. Popular with hikers and bird watchers, the island has a reputation for eco-friendly practices and has mostly been designated a protected nature reserve.
Dozens of small islands across the EU continue struggling with limited power connections to the mainland, and the European Commission said it will use the Greek island’s new model as an example to replicate.
In fact, a blackout recently caused a state of emergency on the Greek island of Hydra, which went an entire day with no electricity and a disrupted water supply on Aug. 26.
An emergency generator allowed the island’s health clinic and a select few businesses to continue running while officials dispatched a navy ship to help with the water system.
According to the state power grid operator, the blackout was caused by issues with Hydra’s undersea power cable.
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