The small and remote northern Aegean island of Aghios Efstratios in Greece is projected to be transformed into a "green island" by exclusively using renewable energy sources, Greek Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis announced on Thursday.
Pilot projects budgeted at 10 million euros (13.2 million U.S. dollars), funded by the General Secretariat of Research and Technology, will be underway and completed before the end of the year, to be followed as early as June by similar initiatives by a commercial scale on slightly larger islands, namely, Nisyros and Tilos.
According to the ministry, so far only three completely "green islands" exist in the world, King Island in Australia, Samsoe in Denmark and Utsira in Norway. Aghios Efstratios aspires to become a member of this exclusive group.
Oil-fired generators currently used to meet the island's electricity needs will be replaced by wind generators, photovoltaic systems and a bio-mass unit. The project also provides for the replacement of all mass transportation with electric-powered vehicles.
A project study conducted by the Public Power Corp. (PPC), the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), the Center for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES) and the University of the Aegean will be completed in May.
Hatzidakis underlined that the promotion of "green energy" use is a priority for the government, and pointed out that since 2004 the installed power of plants using renewable energy sources was tripled from 430 to 1,350 MW.