Integrated Development of Remote Small Islands, The GReco Concept

Climate crisis affects strongly the islands, with small-scale islands perceived as the most vulnerable environments. Greece has a large number of islands of various sizes, with more than two hundred (≈227) being inhabited. The majority of all these Aegean and Ionian Archipelagos islands have an excellent wind potential (the annual mean wind speed at 10m height exceeds 9m/s) and very high solar potential (1500-1850 W/m2, at horizontal level).

To address the challenges related to local people status of living and the attraction of high quality touristic activity, radical changes are required in energy and water consumption, energy production, mobility and the available tourism infrastructure. For this reason, a holistic concept for sustainable development is to be explored. Actually, under the Territorial Just Transition Plan for the islands, a variety of actions is proposed for these islands (GReco-islands concept) including energy transition and climate neutrality, circular economy and efficient use of resources, sustainable urban mobility etc.

The concept of “GReco Islands” aims to make a number of tourism-dependent islands energy neutral or energy positive. In combination with decisive actions towards the greening of tourism, state of the art waste and water management and e-mobility, this would allow for the establishment of a circular economy profile that could also be used as part of the branding and destination management for these islands.

In view of the GReco-islands concept, all these islands may obtain clean-green electricity on the basis of local RES potential, improving at the same time their water reserves. Moreover, the introduction of clean electro-mobility, optimum waste and water management and improved telecommunication services will strongly support the economic and touristic activities of the local communities.

More specifically, the present work describes the first stage of designing the entire GReco-islands initiative, minimizing the environmental impacts and inverting the climate change, via close collaboration with EU and National authorities (top down approach) as well as in accordance with the choices of the local authorities, stakeholders and most importantly respecting the will of the local people (bottom up approach).