“As Pacific leaders shoulder the burden of climate leadership,” this call “is a reminder that despite the doom and gloom, another world is possible, a fossil fuel-free world that is just, equitable, and sustainable.”
The Greek island of Halki has become the first municipality in the country where residents are actually producing the energy they consume.
Halki is a little island in the Dodecanese archipelago, located just 6 km (3.7 miles) west of Rhodes. Still untouched by mass tourism, Halki is the perfect destination either for relaxing vacations away from the bright lights or for a quick getaway from Rhodes island.
The residents of Halki, in collaboration with the municipality, can now fully cover their energy needs and reduce their electricity bills to virtually zero, as a result of the operation of the island’s solar park, created as part of the GRecoIslands program.
It includes actions such as the increased use of Renewable Energy sources, the creation of digital infrastructure, the promotion of energy efficiency, the sustainable management of waste and water, e—mobility and the electrification of transport, and the green transformation of agriculture and tourism.
Initiative at the Greek island of Halki covers energy needs
The GR-ecoIslands initiative of a state-of-the-art solar park at Halki, with a power of 1MW, covers the local energy needs of the residents, giving them the possibility to zero the bills for the electricity they consume, through “Virtual Net-Metering.”
Thus, 34% of the one-year PPC electricity bills were actually negative, 40% were under 100 euros, and 26%, mostly businesses, paid up to 800 euros.
The total savings exceeded 200,000 euros in the last year.
Halki, with a population of around 500, has historically been dependent on its larger neighbor Rhodes for its basic needs, including energy. With an area of only 28 square kilometers (11 square miles), it is the smallest inhabited island of the Dodecanese.
Many locals have over the years emigrated to Rhodes, mainland Greece and abroad. In July 2021, however, the islanders celebrated as they welcomed the first baby born there in almost 50 years.
Initiative launched in 2021
Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis launched the initiative at Halki in 2021.
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.
“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.
In a speech at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP26, Mitsotakis noted that “our pioneering strategy, GR-eco, will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 10 million tons, gradually turning our islands into 100% green and sustainable, autonomous destinations.”