ATHENS — Following the investment in the island of Astypalaia agreed by Volkswagen AG and the government for the development of e-mobility, combined with renewable energy sources and energy storage systems, the island looks set to become a small-scale model of future energy systems in Greece.
The "Smart and Sustainable Island" investment, which will ensure the energy autonomy of Astypalaia to a substantial degree, was presented at an event on Wednesday attended by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
"The Astypalaia project is emblematic in the sense that it demonstrates that a world with a zero carbon footprint is possible. We are proceeding with the electrification of transport – in cooperation with VW – something that will be combined with the installation of modern RES units and the adoption of innovative energy storage and management systems. In this way, Astypalaia will be converted into an island that is clean and autonomous in terms of energy, while retaining its special character and beating a path for the green policies that we will implement throughout the country," said the general secretary of the environment and energy ministry, Alexandra Sdoukou, in statements to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).
Regarding the island's electricity system, the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator (HEDNO) has already prepared a study on increasing RES penetration to 60 pct. This calls for a hybrid system combining wind and solar power with energy storage using batteries. The total capacity required to reach 60 pct penetration of renewables is about 3MW, combined with batteries with a power of 2MW and a capacity of at least 7MWh.
The study is being updated based on the new energy requirements for charging electric vehicles and changes in the cost of installation and equipment and is expected to be completed the following month. E-mobility is expected to increase the islands electricity needs by just 15 pct on an annual basis, according to initial estimates, which is considered a manageable quantity. The results of the updated study will be used to determine the specifications of the hybrid system built on the island in terms of its size, technology and cost.
The next step will be the issue of a ministerial decision that will outline the licensing framework and the tender competition to be held by the Regulatory Authority for Energy to choose the contractor for the project.
Green energy production and energy storage will be combined with smart charging technologies to manage the additional demand created by electric vehicles. This will ensure that charging does not take place at times of high energy demand or simultaneously for all vehicles but at the same time as there is high energy production from wind and solar.
With respect to the fleet of cars, it is calculated that 982 electric vehicles will be sufficient to cover the needs for which 1,494 conventional cars are now required. The size of the island's fleet will be significantly reduce by the introduction of new on-demand transport services, such car-sharing and transport services.