The Cabinet-affiliated Plan for Fair Development Transition recently unveiled a blueprint for the Aegean islands and Crete, citing the islands’ energy transition as one genuine opportunity to diversify their economic activity, which for many is almost exclusively dependent on summer tourism and the property market.
The blueprint, presented by a special work group of the Plan – itself is overseen by several ministers of the Mitsotakis Cabinet – takes into account the scheduled connection of most Aegean islands and Crete with the mainland grid by 2028.
The main “lever” for an energy transition on the Greek islands is none other than renewable energy sources, taking into account current capacity and projected units.
For the Cyclades islands and Crete, the projection is for units with a power generation capacity of 464MW, a div that that translates into a total annual economic benefit of roughly 76 million euros, if also calculating investment and job creation. The corresponding benefit of a full energy transition is 43.8 million euros annually for the Dodecanese islands; 900,000 euros for Lesvos and Limnos; 1.5 million euros for Ikaria and Samos; and 400,000 euros for Hios (Chios).
Beyond the tangible financial benefits, an upgraded tourism model devoid of fossil fuels for electrical supply is billed as making a destination’s appeal greater, as well as catering to the niche but growing eco-tourism sector that is increasingly favored by wealthier and more adventurous visitors.
The plan also includes the GrecoIslands initiative, hatched by Greece’s environment and energy ministry in partnership with DG Regio, under its auspices.
The GrecoIslands initiative includes 32 islands in the Aegean with a permanent population of fewer than 3,000 inhabitants and with distinct “weaknesses”, such as a declining population, remoteness, economic disadvantages etc. Meanwhile, an emphasis is placed on the installation of hybrid electricity production units, along with state-of-the-art battery energy storage system on smaller and more remote islands that are not scheduled to be connected with the mainland grid, such as Aspypalea, Symi, Agathonissi, Megisti and Aghios Efstratios.