Environment

Greek island Tilos on its way to becoming fully powered by renewable energy

A small Greek island is about to show the islands around the world how to become energy independent using only renewable sources, if only on a small scale.

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 almekri01

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 almekri01

The small island of Tilos is located in the Aegean Sea and is home to only about 500 people year-round, but that population doubles during the summer months when tourists come to visit. The island has gotten electricity via an undersea cable coming from a diesel power plant on the island of Kos. This method not only relies on fossil fuels, but it's also been unreliable thanks to tectonic activity that can often lead to power outages.

That has led to the creation of the TILOS (Technology Innovation for the Local Scale, Optimum Integration of Battery Energy Storage) Project, which is being funded by the EU to make Tilos the first Mediterranean island to become fully powered by renewable energy. The project leaders are focusing on a hybrid energy system that both produces and stores energy to create an island microgrid.

The center of the system is an 800-kW wind turbine, a 160-kW solar photovoltaic system and battery storage with 2.4 MWh of capacity to ensure that there is a consistent energy supply both day and night and regardless of weather conditions. The project is also using smart meters and demand-side management software to make the delivery of electricity as seamless as possible.

The system will initially cover 70 percent of the island's energy needs, but will ramp up to closer to 100 percent in the near future. The project team even envisions a time not too long from now where Tilos could be exporting clean energy to Kos to replace its diesel energy.

Tilos is not the only island benefiting from this project. Other small islands will be receiving hybrid energy systems in Germany, France, Spain and Portugal. This project hopes to spread what they learn to small islands around the world to help them become energy independent and fossil fuel free.

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