Category Archives: Features

Agios Efstratios: Our “Green” Island

Τhe project “GREEN ISLAND – AGIOS EFSTRATIOS” aims to combine energy self-sufficiency and autonomy, environmental protection, research activity and technological development in non-interconnected islands.

The aim of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, in cooperation with the General Secretariat of Research and Technology (GSRT) of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs, which is the funding public entity, is to promote a plan of energy self-sufficiency for Agios Efstratios (> 85% in the first stage and finally 100%) through the adoption of technologies that produce and store electricity from Renewable energy Sources (RES), so that the energy demand of the island will be fully and efficiently covered. The Centre for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving (CRES) is the implementing body of the project, which is responsible for the implementation of the project and the supervision of all the necessary procedures for the successful completion of the project.  The project budget amounts to 8.8 million euros and includes the following actions:

  • Introduction of wind turbines and photovoltaics in combination with energy storage devices (batteries and hydrogen technologies) in the power supply system of the island.
  • Green transportation (electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles and refueling stations). More specifically, an electric vehicle charging station with energy from photovoltaics and a hydrogen refueling station will be installed in the island; the latter will be the first hydrogen refueling station in Greece.
  • Autonomous stationary applications based on fuel cell units that will be used as uninterrupted power systems (UPS) and also to serve electrical loads of external lighting of public buildings.
  • Heating and cooling in public buildings using renewable energy technologies.
  • Energy saving in public buildings.

The “GREEN ISLAND – AGIOS EFSTRATIOS” will provide a field for research, testing and development of technologies under real conditions and will be an important tool for country’s policy in Green Economic Development and a national property for further exploitation. Ai Stratis, being the first non-interconnected island in Europe with such a high penetration rate of green energy, will become a model for the “greening”, if not all, a significant number of Greek Islands. Furthermore, it will contribute to the acquisition of know-how and experience in the development of non interconnected integrated island systems with very high penetration of RES, energy saving measures in the building sector and “green” transportation.

The main objective of the project is to make the Ai Stratis an “Open Lab” for tests and development of knowledge in the fields of green energy and ecology with global reference. Research and academic institutions will be able to access, collect, elaborate and exploit all the data that will be collected under real conditions. This fact will give them the ability to optimize issues related to the design, description and modeling of respective systems and processes, significantly increasing their scientific validity. Moreover, young researchers as well as undergraduate and graduate students will have the opportunity to conduct research in the individual subsystems and the integrated power supply system. Furthermore, the Municipality of Agios Efstratios plans to create an Energy Academy that will be hosted in the building of Marasleios School, which will offer the opportunity to young researchers/students to attend Summer Schools in Green Development and specialized seminars in the operation and maintenance of the proposed facilities in all sectors of activity (power, transport, stationary applications, thermal and cooling loads and energy saving).

Finally, companies with cutting edge technologies in the field of Green Energy will have the opportunity to test their products under real conditions and in conjunction with the integrated power system of the island, gaining important know-how and practical experience in the design and implementation of similar systems that will lead to further economic growth and creation of new jobs.

Τhe “Environmental Concerns” of Αncient Greeks

Τhe “environmental degradation” of our planet and its “ecosystems” have woken up people and created “environmental concerns”.

We all might think that these concepts have emerged during the 20th century along with the industrial and technological development in order to protect the environment and make laws and regulations to this direction. In 1935 the British ecologist Arthur Tansley devised the word “ecosystem” for the interactions between the biotic community that is all the living creatures and their biotope, the environment they live in.

However, going back many thousand years ago, in Ancient Greece, we can meet some of the first “ecologically alert” people.

Plato

Plato in his “Laws” argues that the operation of cities is controlled with regard to the environmental impact as well as the compliance with the planning regulations. Furthermore, he was among the first who warned that deforestation causes corrosion of the soil, change of climate and damage to cultivations (Critias, 111d).

Aristotle

In his “Politics”, Aristotle relates the allocation of activities in a city not only with economic but also with aesthetic and environmental factors. The city’s limits is based on the transport cost and the expenditure per land unit for its establishment as well as the needs for quality of life and thrift of environment.

In his “Constitution of the Athenians” (in ancient Greek: Αθηναίων Πολιτεία/Athenaion Politeia), Aristotle states that the policemen of that era had to take care of the transfer of waste in long distance outside the city’s walls. Moreover, there was also concern on the reuse of the sewage as soil conditioner to the agricultural land. At the same time, various facilities like tanneries, dairies, cemeteries were required to be outside the city so that the “well-being” of citizens would not be threaten.

Hippodamus

Hippodamus of Miletus lived during the 5th century Β.C. and is considered to be the “father” of urban planning. His system, known as “Hippodamian Νemesis” respected the free, open space. His grid plans were consisted of accurately designed city blocks, straight and broad streets and spacious squares. The houses were designed taking into account the orientation depending on the season (sun in winter, cool in summer), and he predicted inclinations of streets for the removal of rainwater.

Theophrastus

Theophrastus of Lesbos (373-288 Β.C.) is considered to be the “father” of ecology. He was student of Aristotle who also gave him his name (Theophrastus in ancient Greek means “godlike orator”). Theophrastus thought about the balance of ecosystems and was the first who raised the great subject of these days that is the effect of human activities on climate, as well as the disturbance of ecosystem due to forest destruction, marsh and biotope drainage.

Homer

In Rhapsode F of Iliad, Homer studies the effects of war on the nature and he describes in a really shocking way the pollution of Skamandrus River by the blood of the Trojans and the big fire of Hephaestus for the salvation of Achilles.

Pythagoras

Pythagoras taught his students to respect the environment and to limit the interventions on the natural processes.

Hippocrates

Hippocrates, “father” of Medicine, argued that the health of people is result of microclimate data, nutrition and quality of fresh water.

* In Athens, at “Iera Odos” there have been transplanted since 1976 the roots of the famous olive tree where Plato used to teach his students. Part of the tree trunk, which was destroyed in a car accident 37 years ago, is kept in a special showcase at Agricultural University of Athens.