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Tilos set to be the first Greek island to run entirely on wind and solar energy

Tilos is a tiny island in the Dodecanese in East Aegean Sea between the islands of Kos and Rhodes. It has a rich biodiversity and just 780 inhabitants. But also a pioneer for a mayor who turns the tiny paradise on Greek earth into the first Greek green island. The plans are to have life on the island to be powered by renewable energy, run entirely on wind and solar power.

The entire island is a nature reserve, with more than 150 species of resident and migratory birds, over 650 plant varieties, and a permanent population hovering around 500. Tilos owes its extraordinary biodiversity to a network of underground springs that feed five wetlands – but also to the late mayor, Tassos Aliferis, a committed environmentalist who earned Tilos its reputation as “Greece’s green island”.

Aliferis banned hunting in 1993. (He also conducted the first same-sex marriages in Greece in 2008 long before they became legal* in 2015.)

The current mayor, Maria Kamma, continues to champion sustainable development, and human rights. She has extended an open invitation to refugee families to settle on Tilos, working with the NGO SolidarityNow and the UNHCR to establish sheltered accommodation, language classes and mentoring schemes to help asylum-seekers set up organic farming businesses in partnership with locals.

“We want to revive traditions that were dying out due to a dwindling population, like making cheese and gathering medicinal herbs,” says Kamma. “By integrating refugees, we can boost the local economy and encourage eco-tourism.”

Soon Tilos could become even greener: it’s set to be the first island in the Mediterranean powered by wind and solar energy. The island currently relies on oil-based electricity from neighbouring Kos, via a submarine cable that is vulnerable to faults. Power cuts are frequent. By installing a single wind turbine and small photovoltaic park, Tilos is creating a hybrid micro-grid that will generate and store energy. Installation is under way and an 18-month pilot begins in September, as part of a €15m project largely funded by the European commission. Eventually, Tilos could export excess power to Kos, and the goal is to roll out similar projects on other small islands in Europe. (full article TheGuardian)

*same-sex marriages are still illegal in Greece. However, in December 2015 Greece recognized same-sex civil partnerships.

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One comment

  1. Read the details, they have nothing to do with the headline… Tilos like most islands gets power from an oil-burning plant. The article is just that some handwaving and fantasy about wind and solar might possibly in the future provide some imaginary power to the island.. Never mind that it’s impractical, but the headline is quite misleading.