Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis delivers a speech during his visit at the tiny Aegean island of Chalki, southeastern Greece, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
RHODES, Greece – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis inspected the works included in a programme that will turn the island of Halki into a model of sustainability in the context of the GR-eco islands project, during his visit to the island on Friday.
The GR-eco islands initiative, in which Halki is the first island to be included, foresees actions to increase the penetration of renewable energy sources, the creation of digital infrastructure, the promotion of better energy performance, sustainable management of water resources and waste, the green transformation of farming and tourism and the development of the port and other infrastructure.
The works on Halki were implemented by a group of companies (PPC, Akuo Energy, Omexom/Vinci Energies, Citroën, ALD Automotive and Vodafone Greece, with the contribution of Aegean) based on a momerandum of cooperation signed in the summer at the environment and energy ministry. It included the installation of a 1MW photovoltaic system, which will produce green energy able to cover the energy demand of the islanders. As a result, the locals that participate in the energy community, which has been already established, will have lower energy rates via the Virtual Net Metering method.
Part of the project includes the donation of six electric vehicles to strengthen the fleets of the island’s police, coast guard and municipal authority.
Mitsotakis was present at the delivery of the vehicles and he afterwards boarded an electric-powered boat donated by the Papastratos company to the energy community of Halki.
The prime minister was accompanied by Energy and Environment Minister Kostas Skrekas, Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, State Minister responsible for the coordination of the government’s work Akis Skertsos and ruling New Democracy deputies elected to the Dodecanese, along with the regional governor of the Southern Aegean Giorgos Hatzimarkos and Halki Mayor Evangelos Fragakis.
Halki and the Dodecanese Islands will become sites of dynamic investments in green and cyclical economies, Mitsotakis said, which means cheap electricity and new jobs for the residents.
Residents will work with municipalities to produce the energy they consume, practically nulling the cost of the energy, he explained. “This model of energy democracy can and must become an example for every island, reducing costs on residential bills,” ushering in the era of prosumers, or producers/consumers who take advantage of natural energy sources without additional expense, Mitsotakis noted. For example, he said, a power bill of 407 euros will drop to 157 euros, “a bold response to the challenge of climate change and to the rise in prices of oil and natural gas.”
The crisis can become an opportunity under these circumstances, while Greece’s strategic location makes it a hub of energy transfer. “This is the meaning of the recent agreement with Egypt – such agreements turn into shields defending our borders as well,” the premier underlined, urging additional islands and their councils to join the GR-eco islands model.
Unless Greek elections interfere – a spring date hasn't been set yet – Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias expects to be in Australia for the March 25th celebration of Greek independence, after he goes to Latin America.
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