Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Crete Island, renewable energy in Crete Island.
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek Islands and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (Figure 1). The area is around 8,336 km2 (3,219 mile2). The population marked in recent years by a net increasing trend and economic growth rates double the national average.
Crete is one of the most popular holiday destination in Greece. Overall more than two million tourists visited Crete last year. The service industries are mainly tourism-related. All three sectors of the Cretan economy (agriculture, processing-packaging, services), are directly connected and interdependent. The island has a per capita income close to 100% of the Greek average.
The electricity demand during 2004 in Crete was 2.500 GWh. During the previous years the annual increase of electricity consumption in Crete was high, approximately 4-4.5%. The electrical grid is not interconnected to power grid of Continental Greece and it is autonomous. Crete has abundant resources of wind and solar energy.
Greek Legislative System
The installed power of wind and solar power systems in Crete should not exceed 30% of the installed power of the existing conventional thermal power stations. This power stations use oil as the fuel. Recent data proved that 14% of the annual consumed electricity in Crete is generated from 22 existing wind parks.
Background of Renewable Energy Development
The existing autonomous electrical system faces a chronic problem due to the high rates of electricity demand increased and the reluctance of the population to accept the installation of new thermal power stations. It is believed that innovative solutions which provide both a sustainable development and and a high standard living are needed. It is hoped that the use of Renewable Energy Resources (RES) can become the basis of a new alternative energy policy for the island and the use of appropriate commercially available technologies can have multiple direct and indirect impacts on the local development, the employment, the environment, and the transfer of know-how for local production.
An Implementation Plan for Renewable Energy Resources (RES) in Crete
The implementation plan was formulated on the basis of the available RES potential, the technical constrains for RES penetration and the existing legislative framework. The plan provides the framework for the potential “optimum” development of RES with consider the investors interest. In formulating a scenario for the maximum possible penetration of RES into the electrical system of Crete, the assumption is to cover 100% of the new – after 1998 – electricity demand. Technical and financial constraints and operational and management problems which could have an effect on the implementation plan are considered also.
Presentation of the Plan
There are two groups of actions differentiated by period of implementation and their significance. Short term actions are during 1998-2005. Long term actions are during 2005-2010 (Table 1).
Table 1. Time Schedule of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) Installations
The plan promotes electricity production by exploiting several RES technologies. They are wind farms, biomass, small hydroelectric units (Hydro), photovoltaic (PV) installations, and pumped storage unit (PSU). It also suggests additional actions aiming at electricity savings. They are solar hot water system (SHWS), replacement of incandescent bulbs, passive and hybrid system for cooling, time-zone pricing system, etc.
Contribution to the Energy Supply
Contribution of various sources to the electricity supply can be viewed in Figure 2.
The contribution of conventional fuels (diesel and fuel oil) decreases from almost 100% in 1997 to 81% in 2000, to 61% in 2005, and to 55% in 2010. The total renewable electricity production will reach 19% of the total in 2000, 39% in 2005, and 45% in 2010. The annual electricity demand increases from 1078 GWh in 1990 to 1815 GWh in 2000, 2484 GWh in 2005, and 2700 GWh in 2010. Energy savings due to additional solar water hot systems utilization are considered (52.5 GWh in 2000, 218 GWh in 2005, and 300 GWh in 2010).
Evaluation of the Implementation Plan
Evaluation of the implementation plan with regard to the socio-economic and environmental aspects are:
- The implementation plan during 1998-2010 requires an investment of 740 MEURO (Table 2) and a total subsidy of 253 MEURO. It creates 511 MEURO Regional Added Value and returns a Regional Benefit of 1226 MEURO. The Regional Internal rate of return is 18% and the pay back period of the subsidy to the public receipts is 11.6 years.
- 315 new permanent jobs will be created due to the operation of the plan in the region. The total employment during the manufacturing, installation and operation phase is 8467 man-years.
- Significant fuel substitution is expected due to the Implementation Plan and pollution is avoided. The avoided CO2 emission is 976,000 tonnes/year up to 2005 and 1,238,000 tonnes/year up to 2010.
Table 2. Actions and Installed Capacity of RES Installations Period 1998-2010
Status of Energy Utilization
Electricity demand at the present time is covered with oil (86%) and wind energy (14%). The rest are covered by small hydro, biogas, and PV systems (Table 3).
Table 3. Power System of Crete*
Currently due to government financial initiatives, there is a strong interest from private investors for the creation of new PV stations in Crete. At the end of May 2009, the ministry of development allowed the installation of new PV stations in Crete with nominal power 88 MW. In addition, there are various investors interested in the development of solar thermal power stations in the island.