A renewable energy revolution is happening on the remote island of Tilos, at the North West of Rhodes Island, where Greece’s first hybrid, renewable energy-based battery station and smart microgrid will begin construction this summer. This represents the centrepiece of the TILOS project, which aims to demonstrate how islands can move away from relying on expensive and polluting oil-based energy imports, avoid power cuts and contribute towards renewable energy growth.

The TILOS project has won an EU Sustainable Energy Award that recognise outstanding innovation in energy efficiency and renewables in the framework of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (19-25.6.2017) – it is the first-ever EUSEW “Energy Islands Award” winner.

The Tilos project also won the “Citizens Award”, a result of an online public vote among 12 final nominees. Participation of voting EU citizens in this year’s competition was unprecedented: participation was almost twice as that during last year’s competition. TILOS received half of the public’s votes.


Tilos island is surrounded by high and rocky mountains, steep coasts, beaches with transparent waters and caves. With a population of around 400, the island is currently supplied with oil-based electricity from neighbouring Kos via an undersea cable that is however vulnerable to faults. To address this, the TILOS project has designed a battery-based storage system that will in effect turn the island into a resilient RES-based microgrid using only wind and solar power. A smart energy management system will be able to isolate the island in the event of a cable fault and reconnect it to Kos as soon as the fault is restored.

Once up and running the TILOS system will cover approximately 70% of local demand in stand-alone operation, with the vision being to get close to 100% in the near future. The commercial potential of this model could be significant given the number of Greek islands that currently depend on oil-based energy imports. The project has created a platform involving Pellworm, La Graciosa and Corsica to share implementable results with other European islands. 

The TILOS project, led by a research team from the Laboratory of Soft Energy Applications and Environmental Protection at the Piraeus University of Applied Sciences, involves 13 participating enterprises and institutes from 7 European countries (DE, FR, EL, UK, SE, IT, ES). 

The successful completion of the project will mark a new day for islandness around the world, as the proposed technical solutions address interconnection and energy supply security issues, promoting the energy autonomy of islands and minimizing their reliance on expensive and polluting diesel. “We are very happy with the recognition received by the European Commission and European citizens. Working together with many partners and in close cooperation with the local community, we have a clear objective: to convert Tilos into an island running on renewable energy. More importantly, the TILOS project is showing us the future energy paradigm for the country…” said Demetres Karavellas, CEO of WWF Greece.

Read more via Greek News Agenda: Renewable Energy in Greek Islands: Tilos Shows the Way with Innovative Smart Grid, The Guardian: Tilos, Greece: the first island in the Med to run entirely on wind and solar power; and Visit Greece