The Greek island of Halki is acting as a model for communities wanting to live on solar-powered electricity grids
Halki is a small Greek island with 250 inhabitants deep in the south of Europe.
Its solar-powered electricity grid is the first fruit of the GR-eco Islands project.
Within that framework, in 2021 an energy community was established to support the social economy. Several French and Greek companies have invested in it.
A solar park is now producing 1.8 gigawatts of electricity per year.
"The project is estimated to reduce the CO2 footprint by 2,576 tonnes, which is the equivalent of the emissions of 617 conventional cars," says Vassilis Zafiropoulos, project developer with Akuo.
"At the same time €260,000 euro have been saved on the production of the green energy, which is an amount sufficient to cover the cost for over 200 families that live on the island."
Zero-euro electricity bills
Household electricity bills on the island are now zero euros - and for small businesses like this shop in the port, there've been big savings. My last bill was €1,500. It's a big difference because before my bill was €8,000 per year.
The project provides free electricity for vehicles on the island - with the police one of its users.
A 5G network has been included - enabling telemedicine and tele-education, significantly improving the quality of life for the local population.
The Halki model will now be transferred to many other islands in Greece.
"The Greek government takes Halki as an example," says Evangelos Fragakakis, mayor of Halki. "It's taken funding from the European Union to take the GR-eco concept to other islands in Greece - if I remember correctly, approximately one billion euros"
This small community deep in the south of Europe is thrilled to share its own experience but also to hear similar experiences from elsewhere that could enrich this venture in energy democracy and new technologies. As we were leaving, the mayor was preparing to host a large delegation from South Korea. It wants to adopt Halki's example for its thousands of islands.