“We want to revive traditions that were dying out due to a dwindling population, like making cheese and gathering medicinal herbs,” says Kamma. “By integrating refugees, we can boost the local economy and encourage eco-tourism.”
Soon Tilos could become even greener: it’s set to be the first island in the Mediterranean powered by wind and solar energy. The island currently relies on oil-based electricity from neighbouring Kos, via a submarine cable that is vulnerable to faults. Power cuts are frequent. By installing a single wind turbine and small photovoltaic park, Tilos is creating a hybrid micro-grid that will generate and store energy. Installation is under way and an 18-month pilot begins in September, as part of a €15m project largely funded by the European commission. Eventually, Tilos could export excess power to Kos, and the goal is to roll out similar projects on other small islands in Europe.
|A recently installed solar radiation meter and panel on Tilos.|
Photograph: Tobias Blank
“Tilos has many loyal ‘fans’ who’ve come every year for 30 years,” says Kamma. “Now we’re getting a lot more interest from young people who have heard about Tilos because of the renewable energy project. They like what we are doing and want to support the island.”
Kamma also hopes the positive publicity will help generate additional funding to install solar-powered street lighting, introduce electric bicycles and motorbikes for municipal staff, and charging stations for electric cars.
“Usually it’s hard for a tiny island community to break with tradition, but on Tilos we’ve always welcomed alternatives,” she says. “If we can do it, anyone can.”
Source: The Guardian (with edits)