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Building up smart grid infrastructure in 5 autonomous islands of the Aegean Sea - Greece

Through the Technical Assistance from the ELENA programme, DG ENER / Covenant of Mayors/European Investment Bank (EIB)

The start up of a very innovative programme under the name ISLE-SMART was announced in a press conference in Athens (Greece) on 24/11/2011 with the presence of the Vice President of EIB Mr. Plutarchos Sakellaris and the Minister of Interior, Greece Mr. Paris Koukoulopoulos.

The beneficiary of the Technical Assistance is the Network of Sustainable Aegean Islands (DAFNI), a Supporting Structure for the Covenant of Mayors and the Pact of Islands initiatives. DAFNI and the municipalities concerned will be assisted by the ELENA facility for the accomplishment of all preparatory actions, and the build up of a coherent business plan.

The Hellenic Public Power Corporation (PPC), being the owner of the electricity grid, has committed to implement the investment at the selected islands (Lesvos, Limnos, Santorini, Milos and Kythnos), as soon as the work of the Technical Assistance is completed. The project will comprise the development of the new structure of the grid functioning, in parallel with IT for data transmission and processing. It will be based on the installation of Energy Control Centers at the operational units and 100.000 smart metering utilities for every end-use point of the electricity network. Finally, the smart grid infrastructures will be accompanied by a large-scale installation of photovoltaic panels, through a cooperative investment scheme, as well as by the deployment of charging stations for a future electric vehicles fleet connected with green energy supplying systems.

The ISLE-SMART project is in line with the European Platform for Smart Grids, the Community's policy for achieving the 20-20-20 target and with the National priorities for the reduction of CO2 emissions towards the Sustainable Development. Furthermore, the project aims to improve the quality of electrical supply in autonomous (non interconnected with the mainland islands), save energy through Demand Side Management techniques (~15%) and increase Renewable Energy (RES) penetration as soon as real-time monitoring mechanisms supporting the transmission and distribution operators are set up. Actually, technical barriers related to the grid, put a limit of approximately 25% of the installed capacity to RES penetration. "Under these circumstances the development of Smart Grids in Greek islands, appears to be a revolution in their electric distribution system, and the vehicle for the maximization of their abundant green energy reserves", said Ilias Efthymiopoulos, Director of the Aegean Energy Agency.