The energy production from the non-interconnected islands of the Aegean Sea with the mainland’s grid (2 very small islands in the Ionian Sea included) depends on imported oil by approximately 90%. As a consequence the variable cost of a thermal MWh follows the international changes of oil prices with a correlation coefficient of 99.2%. Additionally from 2013, which constitutes the start of the 3rd Phase of the EU Emission Trading Scheme, the Public Power Corporation (PPC) of Greece – the unique Administrator of the electricity network and owner of the thermal power plants on the islands – has to face the allowances cost and the penalties for the excessive releases of CO2 in the atmosphere. The present study adopts 3 scenarios in order to estimate some of the environmental, economic and social aspects of the electrification on the non-interconnected islands of the Aegean Sea up to year 2030.
A database of the monthly energy productions from the non-interconnected islands from 2000 to 2009 has been created for this purpose and exploited in order to estimate the primary production in the next 2 decades in the given frame of the economic crisis. From such an analysis concrete results are derived regarding the emissions of the thermal power plants of the islands. The core of these scenarios is RES-Electricity (RES-E) production in the region having one of the highest wind and solar potential in Europe. Applying widely accepted methods for exploiting all available RES forms and overcoming the technical restrictions (that among other reasons have decelerated the RES-E penetration rate the last decade), like energy storage and coverage of the seasonal energy demand due to tourism, the results show that a high RES-E penetration target, greater than 50%, constitutes the most preferable solution in the long-term. This is the reason why the interest of the investors remains high despite the current negative economic conjuncture in Greece; on the other hand, the high unemployment on these islands exceeding 20% must be taken into account. Finally such an option might constitute an alternative proposal against the further domination of fossil fuels in the Mediterranean Sea.
Keywords: Aegean Sea; non-interconnected islands; electrification; RES-E penetration; Greece