The Greek island of Tilos is an energy pioneer. Its installation, with EU funding, of a hybrid wind and solar power station is helping to change the way in which electricity from renewable sources is produced and consumed.
Chosen first out of 80 projects to receive €11 million of funding under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, TILOS is an important research and development initiative. It entails the development and installation, on the island of Tilos, of Greece’s first hybrid power station producing electricity from a wind generator and a solar farm and storing it in batteries.
While the project has a strong national element, being coordinated by the Technological Education Institute of Piraeus and with the participation Greek energy company EUNICE, the manager of the electricity network HEDNO and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Greece, the project also involves 13 partners from seven EU countries, ensuring that it remains an international effort.
TILOS is using new technologies to bring significant benefits to the local community and the economy. It will optimise the island’s energy production in a sustainable way, ensuring self-sufficiency, lower prices for consumers, greater stability and a smaller ecological footprint. It will also help the country reduce its dependence on imported energy sources. Furthermore, smart management of the system will allow surplus energy to be used to charge electric vehicles for local transport.
Once the project is completed, Tilos’ energy system will be managed to eventually meet all of the island’s energy requirements from renewable sources while, at the same time, regulating consumption.
According to WWF Greece, the project heralds a new era in island life more broadly by offering solutions to problems of security of energy supply, promoting energy self-sufficiency and eliminating dependence on oil.
As WWF Greece general manager Dimitris Karavellas stresses, this will lead to equally large benefits in terms of tourism. “The solution offered by the TILOS project boosts tourism growth in the small Aegean islands. It gives a way out of years of energy problems and is a model for the rest of the Mediterranean,” he says.