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Energy Transition on Sifnos: An Approach to Economic and Social Transition and Development


This article aims to present the potential of energy transition in insular systems for social and economic transition and development, when planned and implemented appropriately, with the active involvement of local communities. To this end, the example of Sifnos Energy Community is examined and presented as a pilot case. It proves that energy transition, apart from its obvious energy conservation and climate necessity, can provide a strong contribution to the development of remote areas and the remedying of crucial issues, especially in insular communities, such as unemployment, low standards of living, isolation and energy supply security. Energy transition on Sifnos has been undertaken by the Sifnos Energy Community (SEC), with the target to achieve 100% energy independency through effective and rational projects. The major project is a centralized hybrid power plant consisting of a wind park and a pumped hydro storage system. It was designed to fully cover the current electricity demand and the anticipated forthcoming load due to the overall transition to e-mobility for the transportation sector on the island. Through the exploitation of the excess electricity production with the production of potable water and hydrogen, energy transition can facilitate the development of new professional activities on the island and reduce the local economy’s dependence on tourism. Additionally, a daily link to the neighboring larger Cyclades islands can be established with a hydrogen powered-passenger vessel, ensuring the secure and cheap overseas transportation connection of Sifnos throughout the whole year. The overall energy transition process is executed with the active involvement of the Sifnos citizens, ensuring wide public acceptance and the minimization of the projects’ impacts on the natural and human environment. At the same time, the anticipated benefits for the insular communities are maximized, highlighting the energy transition process on Sifnos as a new sustainable development pattern. For all this effort and the already achieved results, Sifnos has been declared as one of the six pilot islands of the European Community’s initiative “Clean Energy for EU Islands”.

Funding source: This research was funded by SIFNOS ENERGY COMMUNITY, grant date: 12 February 2016.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Greece

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