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Funding for green island project
1 May 2009
Greece may soon boast the world's fourth "green island" powered entirely by renewable energy, if plans announced in March by the new development minister, Costis Hatzidakis, go ahead. Aghios Efstratios, a remote island in the Aegean Sea to the northwest of Limnos, has been earmarked to receive EUR 10 million for a green island demonstration project. The idea is to replace its diesel generators with wind turbines, photovoltaic installations and a biomass unit. These will be required to generate around 1.5 MWh a year to meet the basic electricity needs of the island's 250 permanent residents, plus a large summer influx. People will move around the 43-square-kilometre island by bicycle and electric vehicles. According to local media, residents and tourists are happy at the idea and neighbouring islands are also said to be interested. Before anything can happen, however, a feasibility study is to be carried out by the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources, national utility the Public Power Corporation (PPC), the National Technical University of Athens and the University of the Aegean. They are due to report this month, with project implementation scheduled for 2010 if all goes well. Aghios Efstratios is listed as a Natura 2000 site, part of a European network to protect vulnerable ecosystems. According to Hatzidakis' ministry, the other three islands to be competing for the "all renewable energy" title are Australia's King Island, Samsoe in Denmark and Utsira in Norway.
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